Credit card skimming is a major threat to credit and debit card users. Here's what you need to know about this increasingly common form of financial fraud.
Credit card fraud: Protect yourself at an ATM
Since the 2008 attacks, banks and credit card networks have improved their back-end security systems considerably. ATM manufacturers now offer better data protection through updated technology. For instance, privacy filters cause ATM screens to blur when viewed at an angle, to prevent over-the-shoulder eavesdropping. Some ATMs sink the keyboard to prevent spy cameras from seeing your PIN, and jiggle inserted cards to prevent skimmers from reading them.
Even so, when standing at an ATM, if you have any reason to suspect that the machine may be compromised, don't use the machine. You may want to run your finger along the card slot to see whether anything comes loose or feels mismatched. If so, report it to the bank and find another ATM to handle your transaction.
Credit card fraud: Safety at the point of sale
Compromises at point-of-sale terminals are much harder to detect, especially at petrol pumps. Your safest course is use a credit card instead of a debit card when paying for petrol, since the card networks will detect and stop fraud quickly. Credit card consumers are often covered by zero liability programs; but with debit cards, that may not be the case, depending on your bank.
Skimming is just the latest scam. As word gets out - nd as the payment and ATM industry gets wiser--the criminals will move on. Until then, it's caveat emptor: Let the buyer - or card user - beware.
See also: Brits lose £697 each in online fraud