A guide to what you need to know about this growing problem

Skimming is a growing problem that once mostly happened in other countries but this type of credit fraud is becoming more popular in the U.S. The most likely places for this to occur is at an ATM machine, the gas pump or while you are out eating at a restaurant.

This scam is performed using a piece of technology that captures your information on a device called a skimmer.

These are inconspicuously attached to ATM's and gas pump card terminals. In the restaurant it is usually achieved by a dishonest employee who has a hand held device and swiping your card twice.

Many times the swiping is done somewhere out of your sight but not always as some who use this have become quite the actor as the video below will show.

I had several ideas after watching this video about skimming.

  • Pay cash was my first thought.
  • Use a credit monitoring service to catch the activity early.
  • Take any carbons that exist (though usually they are not used anymore)
  • Don't leave receipts laying around for others to scoop up.
  • Vigilance with monitoring your own accounts especially debit accounts.

At times the thief may be known to also use a key pad to key in the 3 or 4 digit security code. At ATM machines there may be a tiny camera to capture these numbers.

The thief that steals the information may not always be the same that commits the fraud. The information can be sold and is said to be a very profitable business. They pass it on to another that can use this information to produce counterfeit credit cards.

Bankrate reports that there are two types of skimmers at ATMs. Ones that do not interfere with the ATM and those that do.

I thought that's interesting, how can they get away with one that interferes? What is reported is that these people are crafty!! They can copy the way the ATM acts with all the usual screens one would find on the machine they typically use.

What happens in this skimming scam is that when the transaction ends it will say there has been a malfunction. No cash for you (how frustrating) and all your information for them!! HOW FRIGHTENING!!

Then further research on my part uncovered information that claimed that some very advanced skimming equipment can be used at gas stations that didn't even need to attach any devices to the card reader at the pump.

All the thief has to do is sit in a car at the gas station while they are transmitting their info to a central computer and intercept this information wirelessly.

Protection for the consumer against this type of technology has popped up everywhere, an ad that came with those checks you can order in the mail included advertising for wallets and smaller purses that blocked this kind of technology. Many online shopping networks feature these types of wallets and purses as well.

It seems there are even people on the street with devises that can read unprotected cards while you are walking down a busy street or out shopping.

Credit fraud is becoming a serious problem!!

Here is a list of tips to avoid this kind of fraud called skimming

  • Whenever at any ATM look for signs of anything out of the ordinary or suspicious.
  • If possible stick to the same ATM for all transactions and a busy bank ATM would be best.
  • Those in store or lonely stand alone ones should be avoided.
  • When paying for gas, go in the store to pay by a credit card and don't use debit cards outside.
  • Pay cash at restaurants that typically have their wait staff go off to who knows where to process your credit card. Only use that credit card if you are standing at a register and can view the transaction.
  • When using your atm machine at the bank use a free hand or a wallet to shield your card from possible spying thieves who use binoculars to see your info or possible miniature cameras installed to steal your pin number. Also put a finger over the security code as it goes into the machine.
  • Another recent suggestion is to use the eraser part of a pencil or any other object to hit the buttons as there are now devises that can detect where a finger was recently placed.
  • Use your hands in a rake fashion over the key pad or inspect for glue marks of another key pad placed over the machine's pad (used to record your pin number).
  • When inserting your card and pulling out use a wiggling motion. If any equipment is installed you may loosen it.

If you're one of those "get cash on the run" types and use an assortment of ATM's this video is for you.....

As Ted Daniels says in this video amazing and disturbing!!

After watching a variety of videos and researching all this I don't think I'll look at ATM's or going out to eat in the same way again.

Good old fashioned banking and paying cash for my meals are the way to go in my book!!!!

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