We are using electronic financial transactions more and more. Every time we pay for purchases with a debit card. Every time we withdraw money from an ATM. Every time we pay for gas at the pump. We've used an electronic transfer of money. And criminals see opportunity in all those electronic transactions. This is a growing threat called skimming. Protect yourself from those who would try to steal card information from you during self-service transactions. Skimming involves the use of a portable device that is temporarily attached to the legitimate card scanner on an ATM or gas pump. When your card passes through the portable device, the information on the magnetic strip is captured by the skimming device. When the criminal retrieves the device, they have captured all the information needed to fraudulently steal money from your account. They can even use secondary devices, like cameras that record your keypad entries, or even overlays on the keypad that record your PIN number. Because the devices used for skimming are temporary, alertness can pay off. Look at the card reading slot. Are there seams or gaps in the surrounding plastic? Are any stickers or ATM features partially covered? If so, don't use it! Grasp and pull on the card reader. If it seems loose, 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. At the gas pump, consider choosing the credit option. That way you don't have to enter a PIN number. You can also shield the keyboard with your second hand while you enter your PIN number. That may help block cameras from seeing the keys you press. Following these easy steps can help protect you from skimmers. Checking your online accounts and statements regularly and reporting any potential fraudulent activity will minimize the damage in the event that you ever fall victim to skimming.