Credit and Debit Cards are a great convenience but they are one that should not be taken for granted. The magnetic strip on the back holds all the card’s data and thieves want that info. One way for them to get it is called skimming. Skimming is the act of scanning your card while you use it, such as getting cash from an ATM, without you noticing. There are many places this type of theft can take place such as the ATM, gas station, kiosks etc.
To prevent this you have to know what you are looking for. A skimmer is a device placed over the normal card slot on a machine. The thief is the scanning your card on its way into or out of the machine. When you see a machine that looks like there is something attached to it, move on. An example is pictured on the right.
Another type of skimming can occur when your card is given to someone to be scanned they can use their own scanner to read the data. They are easy to conceal, as there are types that will fit into the palm of your hand. Some thieves are not as high tech and just take photos of the front and back of the card.
Skimmers are sometimes very hard to spot so as a backup you should monitor your accounts and call immediately if something suspicious shows up. In addition, remember when using your PIN always remember to block it from view!