The Very Real Dangers of Skimming

In today’s technology advanced society, it is easier than ever for savvy thieves to access and use your financial information. Skimming is one of many methods used to obtain credit card information. This fraudulent activity allows thieves to use your credit card information even though your card never left your wallet or pocket.

How Does Skimming Work?

Skimming is a small electronic device used to steal credit card information from an otherwise valid credit card. The card is swiped through the skimmer, which captures all of its vital information from the magnetic strip. 

Skimmers are often placed over the swiping mechanisms on ATMs or gas stations. It can also occur when you use your credit card to pay for goods and services at restaurants, bars, or anywhere else where your credit card leaves your sight. Those who set up the skimmers may also establish cameras or other methods to record your PIN number as well. 

The thief then uses all this information to create a different card connected to your financial information. This “cloned” credit card can be used in stores to make purchases or online.

Taking Steps to Avoid and Prevent Skimming

It is difficult to detect when a skimmer may be involved in your credit card transaction. However, you can take certain steps to help prevent skimming situations. 

  • Know the Signs at ATMs

Skimmers look almost exactly like regular ATMs. However, when a skimmer is at an ATM, you may be able to spot the nearby camera to catch your PIN. Take care to cover your hand as you type your PIN, even if you do not see a camera. If the buttons seem stiff or rigid, eject your card immediately as there might be a fake keypad recording your keystrokes. Bank-operated ATMs are also less likely to be targeted by skimmers.

  • Monetary Your Accounts Closely

Sometimes the only real way to spot credit card theft from skimming is to discover it on your monthly statement. Keep a close eye on your accounts so you can stop fraudulent transactions before they get out of control.

  • Keep an Eye on Your Card

Although it is occasionally difficult, try to keep a watchful eye on your card at all times. Do not allow servers or other individuals to leave the area with your card if you can help it. 

Thieves seem to be getting more creative today regarding credit card theft. Signal Vault helps protect consumers from new, high-tech crimes related to credit card hacking. Find out more by visiting

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