What Is Credit Card Skimming?

Credit card fraud and identity theft are scary—they can, and do, affect people all over the world, all the time. However, most people are conditioned to fear online transactions, where hackers can intercept your information and use it to steal your money, or sell that information to someone else who will.

See also: Modern Crime 101

While this is definitely a concern, sometimes this can create a false sense of security when using your card in brick and mortar stores. Unfortunately, criminals can steal your information just as easy (if not easier) as they can online, using a simple process called “skimming.” Skimming involves a small device, called a “skimmer,” that can scan and store the card’s information from the magnetic strip. Skimmers are often placed over existing card readers, and can appear innocent enough to the unsuspecting eye.

Just watch this video of how quickly and easily a criminal can install a skimmer in a convenient store:

So how do you protect yourself from skimming? Creditcards.com has a great article outlining the process of skimming, how to avoid/protect yourself from it, and what to do if you suspect someone is skimming credit cards.

Stay safe, and happy shopping!

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