Protect Yourself from Credit Card Skimmers

Credit card scams have been running rampant in recent years and the methods scammers are using to steal your information are becoming more intuitive.. Some of the methods to steal credit card information has become so advanced that even experts can be fooled. In fact, credit card scammers have become so sneaky that we have to come up with a new name for them, and that is credit skimmers. Why skimmers?

Credit skimmers steal your credit card information once you swipe at a payment or money machine such as an ATM. These scams have been going on for over a decade, but according to an analytics software company FICO, the number of breached ATM’s increased sixfold from 2014 to 2015 and rose again by 30 percent in 2016. So how are these credit skimmers accomplishing this?

Hackers have figured out ways to install malware onto ATM’s remotely, so they can infect any machine without even touching it. This is a big jump from when hackers had to walk up to a machine to implant their attack. The worst part is, that if a machine is infected there really is no way that you can tell. This type of hacking is not only affecting ATM’s but has been an ongoing problem for gas station pumps.

Gas station pumps are now becoming a bigger target than ATM’s. Skimmers can be installed on a card reader in less than 30 seconds, the skimmer than stores the data and the hacker returns to receive the information through Bluetooth without ever having to touch the pump again. Any gas station facing this problem may not be in the biggest rush to fix the problem because changing out a pump is much more expensive than an ATM.

So how can you fight back and protect yourself from this issue? Many banks have resolved their issue by introducing cards that require you use a chip for payment which is a much safer alternative to the magnetic swipe. While all retailers and stores are required to use the chip, this rule will not require gas station pumps to adopt the technology until 2020. However, there is now an app anyone can download called Skimmer Scanner that will automatically detect the skimmers Bluetooth signal with your smartphone. So even though these credit skimmers have become smarter, so can you when it comes to protecting your credit card information. Be sure all your cards are updated and have the chip, as well as downloading apps that can help you detect fraud.