What Is Skimming?

Protect Yourself from Skimming

We are using electronic financial transactions more frequently. In fact; every time we pay for purchases with a debit card, withdraw money from an ATM and pay for gas at the pump, we have used an electronic transfer of money. Unfortunately, criminals see opportunity in all electronic transactions, which leads to a growing threat called SKIMMING. The thieves are clever, but you can protect yourself against criminals who try to steal from you during self service transactions.


SKIMMING involves the use of a portable device that is temporarily attached to the original card scanner on any ATM or gas pump. As your card passes through the scanner, the information contained on the magnetic strip is captured by the skimming device. Later, when the criminal retrieves the device, they have captured all the information needed to fraudulently steal money from your account. They may even use secondary devices like cameras that record your keypad entries, or even high-tech overlays placed on the keypad to record your PIN number.


Because the devices used for skimming are temporary and will be removed by the criminal, alertness can pay off.

  • Look at the card reading slot. Are there seams or gaps in the surrounding plastic? Are any stickers partially covered? If so...don't use it.
  • Grasp and pull on the card reader. If it moves...find another ATM or pump.
  • Look at surrounding card readers. Do they look the same as yours?
  • Use gas pumps that are visible to the employees. Use ATMs that are inside the store. It's harder to install a skimmer under the watchful eye of a cashier.
  • At the gas pump, choose the CREDIT option. That way, you don't have to enter a PIN number.
  • Shield the keyboard with your second hand while you enter your PIN number. That will block cameras from seeing the keys you press.