Understanding How Credit Card Skimming Works

Understanding How Credit Card Skimming Works

Credit card skimming is now a common issue in our society today. These days fraudulent activities and charges are carried out on accounts credit and debit cards that never left the card user possession. How did the theft happen?

Let’s quickly look at How Credit Card Skimming Works

Credit card skimming is known to be a common type of credit card theft. This is where scammers use a small skimming device to steal credit card information from the card owner without his/her knowledge. There are various ways through which they achieve stealing the credit card information.

Many of these scammers achieve this by inserting card swipe mechanism skimmer device in ATMs, gas stations so that When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the device is able to captures and stores all the details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe.

The skimmers can be placed over almost any type of credit card reader. With ATMs, the thieves may have a small, undetectable camera nearby to record you entering your PIN. This allows the thief to get all the information needed to make a fake card with which they can withdraw cash from the cardholder’s checking account.

The stripe on the credit card is known to contain information with which they can have access to the cardholder’s account. The strips contain the credit card number and the expiration date of the card including the credit card holder’s full name.

When they steal these pieces of information, they use the stolen data to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card.

Understanding How Credit Card Skimming Works

These thieves often work as a team so in certain retail and restaurant, their workers who handle credit cards are recruited to be part of the skimming team. These workers then use a handheld device to skim your credit card when having a normal transaction section with you.

Do you recall when you go to a restaurant you often hand your cards over to waiters to cover the check for a restaurant? Since the waiter goes away with our credit cards for a while a waiter working for these skimmers will take this as a great opportunity to swipe your credit card through a skimmer without even being detected.

And once the credit card information is compromised, the thieves will simply create a cloned credit card to make purchases in-store or use the credit card account to make online purchases, or even go-ahead to sell the information on the internet.

The worst part is that the Victims of this credit card skimming are hardly aware of the theft until they notice unauthorized charges on their account, probably have their card unexpectedly rejected, or receive an overdraft notification in the mail.

How to Spot a Credit Card Skimmer

Credit card skimming devices are crafted to blend in seamlessly with the machine it’s placed on. Unless you’re specifically looking for a skimming device, you may not notice anything out of the ordinary.

Look out for credit card skimmers anywhere you swipe your credit card, but especially at gas stations and ATMs.

You must become familiar with the look and feel of regular credit card readers so as to be able to can detect when there’s something unusual with the machine you are trying to use.

Understanding How Credit Card Skimming Works

Possible ways to detect a credit card skimming device.

When the credit card reader that sticks out beyond the panel since the skimming device is inserted over the existing credit card reader.

As soon as you notice a credit card reader that protrudes outside the panel of the machine, check it to be sure it is not a skimmer.

When certain parts of the credit card reader are not firm together. The credit card reader should be firmly secured in place. Moving parts are a good sign of tampered credit card readers.

Another way to detect skimmer is when the security seal that has been displaced. Most Gas stations have a security label across the gas pump that lets you know if the cabinet panel on the fuel dispenser is intact. When the panel is still intact, the label has a flat red, blue or black background. But when the security seal has been broken, the words “Void Open” is seen in white. So If the seal is broken, it is something to take note meaning an unauthorized person may have accessed the cabinet. Simply inform the gas station attendant and avoid using the credit card machine at that particular pump.

Another possible way to detect a skimmer is If the keys are hard to push, eject your card and use another ATM. Because sometimes these thieves put a fake keypad just above the original one. Use a bank-operated ATM, which is less likely to have a skimmer, rather than an ATM at a store or gas station.

Understanding How Credit Card Skimming Works


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