How to Protect Yourself From Card Skimmers

Written By Julia Kirchner

Every time you pump gas, use a vending machine, or a public ATM, your credit card information could be compromised. Credit card skimming is a dangerous development that is unfortunately very common in today’s world.

Skimming is a type of theft where a device is planted on a card reader in a public place, usually in a self-service machine. These illegal devices are very hard to see because they are designed to blend in with the rest of the machine. Skimmers read the magnetic strips on credit cards and steal card numbers as well as PIN numbers.

Many high school students have jobs, and they have debit cards which they carry with them everywhere. In order to keep credit and debit card information protected, it is important to be extra cautious about where you use your card. Any machine that is located in a secluded area is more likely to be chosen by thieves because there is no one keeping an eye on what they do. Taking all of your transactions inside instead could also help keep you safe.

“It would be devastating if my card information was stolen,” said Junior Brianna Barley. “I work hard for my money.”

Inspecting the card reader before swiping is always a good idea. If the reader looks as though it has been tampered with, use another machine. If anything is broken, dented, or does not match the rest of the machine, there could be a card skimmer planted in the reader.

Not all machines can be avoided though, so be sure to monitor your bank account regularly to make sure all of the purchases on your card are your own. It is also safer to use a card with a chip instead to avoid swiping as much as possible. Technology is developing more and more each day, so be sure to keep your information as secure as possible.

For more information on credit card skimmers, go to the following links:

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