INDIANAPOLIS – As crooks are constantly looking for new ways to swindle us out of our money, security experts remind us not to lose sight of some well-established methods for ripping us off.
According to Credello, credit card “skimming” is still listed in the top five credit card scams to watch for in 2023. Crooks are still installing skimming devices that record the information on the magnetic strip on the back of a credit card. And it’s happening most often at some particular places.
Gas stations remain a hotspot for credit card skimming, according to Go Banking Rates. Even with most gas pumps now under video surveillance, the pumps still don’t get much supervision between inspections.
Non-bank ATMs are also a risky place to swipe your card. ATMs located in gas stations and hotel lobbies are generally not owned by banks and are not often well monitored.
Bars and restaurants are not only risky, but also tricky. Typically, you’re not the one swiping your card when it’s time to pay your tab or check. You hand your card to a server or bartender, who walks away with it. At that point, you’re trusting them with your credit or debit card. According to The Balance, large theft rings will often recruit waiters and bartenders to steal credit card information for a few bucks. Unless you plan to make the awkward move of following the person to watch them handle your card, there’s not a lot to do in this situation except keep an eye on your credit or checking account for any charges you don’t recognize.
Mobile vendors like food trucks, art fairs and festivals can also be risky because you simply don’t know how legitimate the seller is, and you’re likely going to be distracted by your surroundings.
And if you like using the self-checkout lane at the grocery store, be aware that crooks have been known to install skimmers on those card readers. They often work in pairs, with one person covering the camera while the other installs the skimming device.
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself. If you’re in a location where there are several credit card readers, look around to make sure they all look the same. If one looks different, it could have a skimming device attached.
Also, check your credit and checking accounts often for any charges you don’t recognize. And, makes sure your bank or credit card company has you signed up for fraud alerts.