Another Scam to Look Out For

Harold Sasnowitz |

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about with regard to credit and debit card fraud, another threat has turned up: its called the credit card skimmer.  These devices are used properly as part of card readers.  What’s new is that they have been made smaller and are easily placed on a legitimate credit or debit card reader.

When someone steps up or drives up to an ATM or gas pump, the card reader section looks perfectly normal.  However, when a bogus skimmer has been placed over the legitimate skimmer, the bogus skimmer records all the information from the card just as the legitimate one does.  The bogus skimmer has circuitry to record the information, and the card goes through to the legitimate skimmer.

















The picture shows (one version of) what the skimmer looks like.  The item being held shows what it looks like on the inside, before being placed over the legitimate one.  The skimmer scammer needs only seconds to slip the bogus one over the legitimate one. 

And here’s the good news: you need only seconds to check if there’s a bogus skimmer and then to remove it.  Just take hold of it with your hand and yank on it.  No tools needed.  If it comes off, you’ve just prevented yourself, and all who came after you from being scammed, and possibly had your identity stolen.

Don’t worry about harming or destroying the ATM or gas pump; they’re built to withstand abuse.

Along with these skimmers, you should also check overhead for tiny cameras.  These may be used to record pins and postal zip codes.  If you see a camera don’t enter any information, instead notify the establishment’s management immediately.  If you can’t locate management, call the local police.

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