Skimming: How Thieves Steal Your Personal Data from Credit and ATM Cards
How would you feel if your bank account was emptied by someone you've never even met? This is a reality for many people who have had their personal data stolen through skimming. Skimming is a method of stealing credit and debit card information that has been around for years, but with the advancement of technology, it has become easier than ever for thieves to steal your hard-earned money. In this blog post, we will discuss what skimming is, how thieves execute it, and some preventative measures that you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
What is Skimming?
Skimming involves the use of equipment that captures data from cards used at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. This method has been around since before the invention of credit cards, but it has become more popular in recent years with advances in technology. A skimmer can be placed over an ATM's card slot to read your information when you insert a card into it or affixed on top of other machines such as gas pumps where people swipe their cards regularly (i.e., self checkouts). The device records all sorts of personal details including name, account number and expiration date which are then transmitted via Bluetooth wireless communication protocols so thieves don't even have to physically retrieve anything once they collected enough data.
How Thieves Steal Your Data
There are various ways in which thieves can steal your data through skimming. One way is by altering equipment on legitimate ATMs so that they can read the magnetic stripe information from the cards as well as capture people's PINs. More recently, thieves have been using technology to stay nearby the ATM and receive the information wirelessly. This allows them to copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw money from many accounts in a very short time directly from an ATM machine.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim of skimming. One simple measure is to cover the keypad when you're entering your PIN at an ATM or store checkout so no one can see it. Also, never use machines in enclosed areas like shopping malls and apartment buildings because these places tend to have more thieves prowling around looking for opportunities than open locations such as streets or parks would offer them.
When choosing which card is right for you, consider having multiple cards with different logos on the front of each one (such as Visa vs MasterCard). This will help protect against fraud if your credit card company doesn't cover all types of purchases made using their logoed plastic; some companies only allow certain transactions while others do not accept any at all. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that they won't be able to steal everything from just one account number/card number combination.
The best way to protect yourself is by being aware of your surroundings and using common sense when choosing which ATMs or point-of-sale terminals you use; never trust anyone with access to these devices unless it's obvious that they're not trying anything funny like walking away from the machine after inserting their card in order for someone else (who has been waiting nearby) can take over control on behalf of them.