Credit card skimming is a prevalent problem that has the potential to affect everyone who uses credit cards or even ATM cards. Skimming can occur at gas stations across the world, however it is widely known that Europe holds the highest concentration of these types of crimes. The most common location for skimming is at ATMs, but many businesses still use old fashioned card readers. These old readers can be easy to tamper with and therefore pose a threat to any customer who uses an ATM or credit card terminal that looks out of place.
The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of credit card skimming is to take the time to inspect the machine that you are using. You should try to avoid machines that look old or damaged. If you do use a credit card terminal, make sure that when the card is inserted it does not jiggle around in its slot and instead goes in smoothly. The majority of skimming devices are attached with double sided tape, so a card shifting around in its slot is a good indication that it may have been tampered with. If you notice any loose pieces of plastic on the machine, assume the worst and do not use it.
Account monitoring plays a vital role in ensuring that your credit or debit card is not compromised, which can be done through several ways depending on the country your bank is based in. In Europe for example it’s mandatory to have SMS notifications as a default setting when you’re using certain services such as those from Facebook. However those are generally limited to things like changing passwords and notifying users of suspicious activity due to their inconstant usage and effectiveness. More useful methods include verifying your card via SMS every time you make a purchase, as well as including additional steps such as entering an OTP or Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is sent to the account holder’s phone for confirmation when making purchases online.
These are usually good enough for individuals, but can be improved upon when used in combination with other security measures such as an electronic wallet or a token.
An Electronic Wallet is a digital storage system to store your credit or debit card information for quick and easy use online which you access via an application on your phone, however the method has not been widely adopted yet due to lack of security measures currently available for it.
Prioritize Low Limit Cards
The best way to stave off skimming is to prioritize cards that contain low limits and aren’t able to provide any data that would be useful for cyber criminals. Cards such as these will likely not be targeted, since they offer no real financial incentive. Such cards include library cards, telephone calling cards, and gift cards.
Customers are less likely to spend their hard-earned money on high value items, which criminals use for creating counterfeit versions of the cards. Criminals cannot steal actual cardholder information if they do not have it in the first place, so customers will remain safe from harm.
Pre-plan Online Purchases
Pre-plan online purchases to minimize damage. To begin, choose the best credit card to use at online retailers. The majority of people use either Visa or MasterCard, so knowing which one is most secure for an individual’s needs is necessary to prevent any issues with payment security..
If you are not sure which card to choose, try researching different cards and their capabilities. Then, consider the risks and benefits of each card. Finally, decide whether or not you think there is a better option to use for online purchases.
Call your credit card company immediately if you notice any fraudulent charges. This will help protect your money and time by stopping the issue as soon as possible. This step must be completed before filing a report with the police to prevent any possible issues.
If you are unable to call your credit card company because of an emergency, then text the number on the back of the card to report a fraudulent charge. This must be done right away before filing a report with your local authorities.
Never leave your credit cards unattended, even if it is just for a few minutes. To minimize any chance of having your card stolen, it is best to take the credit card with you even if you are just going to the bathroom or getting food at the mall.
Shop From Trusted Websites
One way to stay safe is to make sure you are buying from a trusted website. This means only doing business with websites that have well-known brands, good customer service, and which are easy to navigate. When shopping for something new, it might be best to start by searching specifically in your favorite online marketplace or in the shopping section of a well-known store. Websites that are filled with poor reviews, odd logos, and which give out strange error messages are often best to be avoided.
Additionally, it is important to make sure the online store has an encrypted connection (or “https://” instead of just “http://”). This means the website uses added security measures, preventing information from being stolen from the transfer between your computer and the website. As a final layer of protection one should make sure that they are using a credit card, instead of a debit card or PayPal, as credit cards come with significantly more consumer protections if something does go wrong.
Skimming is a serious problem in cybersecurity, as it can lead to the compromise of credit card data. A lack of security around terminals has been cited as the main cause for this concern. The future deployment of EMV or chip cards will help to avoid skimming. Only time will tell if these new technologies are enough, however, and further measures are required before this threat can be considered under control. Stay tuned into Bayshore Interactive to learn more about cyber security!