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ATM Skimmer Scams

Skimmers could steal your financial information at the ATM-or even at your local supermarket. Here's how to protect yourself.

Protecting your financial information while shopping online is extremely important. But did you know that a high tech threat can steal your credit card information while you are shopping around town. Scammers can steal your debit or credit card information without you even noticing.The crime called credit card "skimming" has become increasingly common over the past few years. Authorities recently uncovereda large, sophisticated skimming operation where scammers attached their devices onto the self-checkout machines at 24 Lucky supermarkets in Northern California. The scam caught hundreds of customers who used the self-checkout machines in October and November 2011 and had their account information stolen.How do they work? Credit card skimmers are essentially devices that thieves place over the actual card readers on an ATM or credit card machine to collect your financial information. As your card passes through it, that skimmer reads your card's magnetic strip, collecting your card's information.Some skimmers are easy to spot,while others are hardly noticeable. How can you protect yourself?It' okay to be suspicious. If something looks like it's sticking out too far or it doesn't match with the rest of the machine's design, ask for a manager.Many skimmers are fairly shoddy pieces of equipment that are weakly tacked onto to the card reader. Another way to ensure protection isuse your free hand to block the view of you entering your PIN. That way, a camera mounted above the PIN pad can't tell what you're entering, which will help prevent criminals from being able to access your bank account.Read more here.