Today’s world is a place where anyone can be connected with anyone else, and for any purpose. This means that you can connect with a long-lost friend or relative, you can connect with someone for business purposes or you can connect with someone in order to commit a crime.
And thanks to the Internet, anyone can purchase a device to help them obtain the financial information needed to comment credit card fraud. For less than $100, a thief can obtain a skimmer online, then use it to drain an unsuspecting victim’s bank account.
A skimmer is a device that can be attached to an ATM machine or gas pump, or even to a point of sale machine inside a retail store. The device captures the card’s data when the card is swiped, and records it. On ATM machines, criminals often install tiny cameras, in addition to the skimmer, to capture the victim inputting a PIN.
Once the information is collected, it can be used by the thief who collected it, sold on the black market, or the information can be used to make cloned cards, which can be used by the thief or sold for cash.
Skimming has become a billion dollar industry. Cloned cards have been used to withdraw more than $1 billion all over the world in the past decade.
Protect yourself and your cards. Cover the PIN pad when you input your number. Check the machine thoroughly before you insert your card, to be sure nothing is amiss. Pull on the card inserter, and poke at the PIN pad. If something is loose or seems out of place, report it immediately and do not use your card in that machine.