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How To Spot And Avoid Credit Card Skimmers


If you’re lucky, you’ve never encountered a card skimmer. If you never let your credit (ATM) card out of your sight, how do these thieves get your ATM card information? They get it through the Credit Card Skimmer; these small, illegal devices fit on top of real card readers at self-service sale terminals. They’re designed to blend in with the rest of the machine, so they can be tough to spot.

ATM card thieves will often temporarily put the card skimmer device on ATMs, or self-service point-of-sale (pos).

Skimmer technology has become cheaper and more sophisticated over the years. Some skimmers capture the card information using a magnetic reader and use a miniature camera to record you typing in your PIN. Some skimmers will even go so far as to place a secondary keypad over top of the actual keypad. The secondary keypad captures your PIN and records it while passing your input to the real keypad.


Here’s how you can detect and avoid having your ATM card skimmed at the ATM or POS.

  • Inspect The Card Reader and the Area Near the PIN Pad
  • Many banks and merchants realize that skimming is on the rise and will often post a picture of what the real device is supposed to look like.
  • If you think the POS doesn’t look like it matches the color and style of the regular POS, it might be a skimmer.
  • Use a credit card, preferably the ones with a chip.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If in Doubt, Use Another Pump
  • Keep an Eye on Your Accounts: If you suspect that you might have had your card skimmed. Keep an eye on your account balance and report any suspicious activity immediately.
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