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Watch Out For Skimming
Credit and debit card skimming is when potential thieves steal or “skim” your card information. They use it to create an illegal copy of your card (called “cloning”) or to charge items to your card over the phone or Internet. Or, they may sell it to others to do the same.
Thieves use skimming devices that are small, easily portable, and hard to detect. Certain types are illegally installed on ATM machines and sales terminals such as those on gas pumps.
Card skimmers fit over original card readers. As you insert your card, the account information on it is stored on it is skimmed by the device. Keypad overlays are placed directly on top of the factory installed keypads. The circuitry inside the overlay stores your keystrokes, such as those you make when you enter your PIN. Thieves also may install hidden cameras to record you entering your PIN.
Try to use only ATMs inside of financial institutions, which tend to have more oversight and be less vulnerable to tampering. Skimming devices are more often installed on non-financial ATMs such as those at convenience stores.
At an ATM or sales terminal, check to see if the colors and materials used match up. Look for an extra piece of plastic, or anything that appears added on, wrong, or out of place. These can be signs of skimming devices. Don’t use the machine if anything looks suspicious. It’s better to be safe than sorry.