As technology advances, it seems that criminals are also becoming smarter. Or at least able to get their hands on smarter devices. Many people become victims of criminals who scan their credit card information using special devices. This act is known as skimming. Even when you use your card at stores or restaurants, you’re taking a risk of having your information stolen.

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Ingenico, a credit card terminal manufacturer, recently issued a guide on how to identify a skimmer. There are several clues that can help keep you safe from card fraud. Here’s what you need to pay attention to when using your credit card:

1. Size

The difference: A skimmer is usually longer and wider than the terminal itself. TA skimming terminal is noticeably larger than a true one. Size can help you recognize a fraudulent device.

2. No Button Highlights

The difference:

If a skimmer was inserted too quickly, it may block the button highlighting on the terminal. The buttons will instead be dull and faded.

3. The Green LED Light Is Blocked

The difference: An attachable skimmer blocks the green LED light on the terminal. On a true terminal, you should see this LED light when the terminal scans a card.

4. Frequent Operation Errors

The difference: Skimmers often get in the way of the magnetic strip when they scan a card. This causes frequent operation errors. It also significantly slows down the usual terminal operations. If a terminal is moving much slower than it should, it may be a skimmer.

5. A Stylus Is Not Attached

The difference:

All payment terminals have a stylus attached to them, so clients can enter their signature after their card has been scanned. A skimmer blocks the stylus from being attached.

How To Protect Your Money

So, you’ve learned how to spot a skimmer. But there are other important ways to protect your money.

  • Have a separate debit card that only holds the sum you need for the purchase at hand.
  • React promptly to unexpected purchases.
  • Set limits on your account. Setting purchase limits and cash withdraw limits will ensure that criminals aren’t able to withdraw all of your money at once.
  • If you lose your card, immediately call your bank and block all purchases.
  • Learn about card insurance capabilities with your bank. Some credit organizations have special programs in place for protecting their clients from fraud. They may also reimburse for damages.
  • When you pay with your card, make sure that employees or cashiers do not take the card away from you. Even at a restaurant, it’s best to ask that your card be swiped in front of you, instead of allowing your waiter to take it.
  • Read receipts carefully after using your card to make a purchase. The field with the paid amount must not be empty.