September 2015: There’s a skimming surge sweeping the country — watch where you swipe!
Today’s skimmer devices look legit so it can be tough to tell a real credit card reader from one that’s been swapped with a fake. Once a skimmer grabs your data, it can be used to buy things with your money that you won’t get to enjoy. And if your debit card is skimmed, your bank account can be drained. Here’s what to look out for when swiping and shopping:
|Don’t Use Debit Cards Here||Be Careful About Using Credit Cards Here|
|Online||Online when there’s no lock symbol or https in the URL (call the company instead)|
|Gas pumps||Gas pumps that don’t pass this checklist|
|Car washes and parking lots||Car washes and parking lots|
|Independent ATMs and ATM terminals that have scrapes, visible wires, protruding or crooked parts, colors that don’t match the rest of the device or other characteristics that look suspicious||Payment or swipe terminals that have scrapes, visible wires, protruding or crooked parts, colors that don’t match the rest of the device or other characteristics that look suspicious|
|ATMs that are hidden or isolated because they’re easier to alter without being seen — use indoor ATMs or ATMs at banks instead||Payment terminals that are hidden, isolated or exhibit any of the suspicious characteristics described above regarding ATMs|
|Temporary retail locations like flea markets and Square (or similar) payment devices||Temporary retail locations like flea markets|
|Supermarkets, restaurants and travel agencies and sites||Free trials (they can be scams)|
When in doubt, use cash! Or use a prepaid debit card. Prepaid debit cards have no personal information or other accounts associated with them and often no name associated either. TopTen has a list and Bankrate.com conducted a survey earlier this year about what they cost to use. Here are details about how they work.
Remember, there’s more than one way to pay! Choose the smartest one for each purchase.
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