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3 Tips to Detect Credit Card Skimmers


Credit card skimmers are still out there, leading to more and more credit card fraud. Being victimized by credit card skimming is just as common as being hacked online.

Credit card skimmers can be on anything, from the POS terminal at the register of the gocery store to the ATM at your bank. You’ve probably heard about skimmers at gas pumps as that is a common target, but that isn’t the only place targeted by skimmers.

Make sure nothing is loose

Credit card skimmers can be attached in many different ways. Sometimes they may not be visible from the outside at all. Even though no loose parts doesn’t mean no skimmer is present, loose parts are a major red flag that something is amiss. Don’t be afraid to wiggle things around to make sure they’re properly attached.

Compare your machine to the one next to you

If you’re at a location that has multiple machines, like a bank with multiple ATMs or a gas station with multiple pumps, take a quick second to compare the machine you’re using to another one. Make sure the colors of parts are the same and that there are no extra parts on yours. If you machine looks different, with different parts, different colors, or missing seals, this is a major red flag.

Check for hidden graphics or text

If a skimmer is installed, it might cover up pieces of the machine, which means it could cover graphics or text that came with the machine. Look for graphics or text that are partially concealed. Think about how much money goes into branding at a major chain gas station - they’re not going to design or install their pumps with part of their branding covered up. If you spot a half-covered graphic or a block of text with a side of it cut off, this is a red flag.

If you spot any of these red flags, it’s best to move on to another location and use a different machine.