Identity thieves rely on some common, old-fashioned techniques to get your information. These include: stealing your wallet, going through your garbage to find personal documents, or sending malware to your email. You already know how to protect yourself against these scams: keeping an eye on your wallet or purse, shredding anything with personal information on it, and not clicking on spam emails or pop-ups.
But what about some of the new ways identity thieves are getting their hands on your information? With advances in technology, there are many new methods for criminals to steal your information. One of the most popular new scams is called “skimming”.
What is skimming?
A “skimmer” is a device that reads the information on a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. The device comes in many forms, and can oftentimes be hard to detect. In some cases, identity thieves install them in gas pumps or at ATMs along with a hidden camera. With the stolen data, identity thieves manufacture fake cards.
How can I protect myself?
- Download our MobiMoney™ app. By using MobiMoney™ you can: turn your card on/off, get transaction alerts, restrict certain transaction types and more. If a thief duplicates your card, and you have turned it off; transactions will be declined and MobiMoney™ will send you a notice.
- Don’t swipe your card at any machine that looks tampered with; appears to be added on or poorly fits.
- Pay attention to the wiring of an ATM. If you see telephone or Ethernet cord snaking behind the machine to a jack in the wall, do not use the machine.
- Make sure your card stays in sight, and never let anyone leave your presence with your card. If you’re eating out and are concerned about the risk of skimming by wait staff, bring your card up to the register so it doesn’t leave your sight.
- Monitor your card receipts, and check them carefully against your statements. Sometimes thieves take out small amounts hoping that cardholders won’t notice.
What do I do if I think I’ve been a victim of skimming?
- Call the police and make a report.
- Contact the card issuer immediately and tell them your card data has been stolen.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – to request a security freeze so no one can open a new card in your name with your stolen information.