The Scam: A “skimmer” is a small, unobtrusive device that reads the information on a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. In some cases, crooks install them in gas pumps or at ATMs, turning a routine transaction into an assault on your privacy. Skimming can also occur in retail situations, often restaurants, where a server will swipe your card through a handheld skimmer before running it through the establishment’s legitimate card reader. With the stolen data, identity thieves manufacture fake credit cards.
Avoid It By: Don’t swipe your card at any machine that looks tampered with or otherwise sketchy. If you’re eating out and are concerned about the risk of skimming by waitstaff, bring your card up to the register so it doesn’t leave your sight.
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