The emergence of credit cards has eliminated the need of carrying larger amounts of money on us and it’s pretty neat and convenient, we can all agree on this, however it didn’t completely remove the threat of being scammed or robbed nonetheless.
As always, criminals have learned to adapt and adjust accordingly with these advances, and pickpockets of the past have now become sophisticated new age scammers that can drain your bank account without even touching your card.
To mitigate this threat, Credit card terminal manufacturer Ingenico recently issued a guide that will help you spot a skimmer in a standard terminal (Ingenico iSC250).
According to Ingenico, a skimmer would be noticeably longer and wider than the terminal itself to “correspond to its size”. This is also the most glaring discrepancy that would tip off a fraudulent device. So, keep your eyes open when using a cash terminal.
A hurriedly inserted skimmer might block the highlighting on the terminal, which is another typical tell tale of a rigged device. Make sure you take a good look at the terminal before inserting your credit card.
Frequent operation errors
If a terminal is ‘acting’ all weird and does not respond to your commands properly, chances are you are dealing with a skimmer. This is because skimmers sometimes interfere with the magnetic strip while scanning data, causing glitches and reducing the machine’s response times.
A normal terminal would have a stylus attached to it for clients to use to enter their signatures. An iSC250 ‘equipped’ with a skimmer does not allow a stylus to be attached.
7 tips to protect your money
1.Having a separate debit card that would only have the exact amount you need at the moment is the most effective weapon against fraud of this kind.
2. Make sure you are connected to the SMS banking service to be able to react swiftly to unexpected debits.
3. Limiting cash withdrawal amounts is also a good idea. That way, criminals won’t be able to withdraw all your money at once.
4. If you happen to lose your card or you suspect that someone might have ‘hacked’ into it, have your bank to block it immediately.
5. Familiarize yourself with the card insurance capabilities and terms offered by your bank. Some credit organizations offer special programs that protect their clients from fraud and provide reimbursement of damages.
6. Don’t let the card out of you sight. When paying in a store or a restaurant, make sure that the employees do not take it away from you. Experienced criminals can skim it quickly and discreetly.
7. Make it a habit to read the receipts carefully after paying with your card. The field showing the paid amount must never be empty.