Skimming allows data thieves to steal your identity information when you initiate a transaction with your credit card. It’s been around for a while but when it was first used it was easy to spot. A device was placed over the credit card receiver recording your credit card information. Just like any other technological advancement, skimming scams today have been improved and refined, and now it’s very difficult to tell if that gas pump or remote ATM is recording your credit card information for fraudulent purposes. Skimming today involves almost undetectable cameras and card reading devices. It has even got to the point where the criminal doesn’t even have to retrieve the skimming device he can merely download the information from a remote location.

Skimming is the preferred method for stealing identities and credit card fraud. It is growing with an alarming rate and its estimated losses will probably reach a billion dollars this year. Even though there are other ways to steal someone’s identity like phishing and dumpster diving, skimming generates a lot more money, and it happens a lot faster too. Skimming allows the thief to get instant access to credit cards. A thief can drain your accounts and be gone before you even know what happened. Every once and a while you hear a story on the news about some criminals who hacked into the card processing equipment of a national retail chain, and in a more recent event the thieves hacked into eighty locations in twenty states, they duplicated the cards, and instantly started making withdrawals at five hundred bucks a pop.

My banker called me recently and advised me that they were going to cancel my debit card account and issue a new one. Apparently, they suspected that a number of accounts were compromised. I am grateful they are taking precautions to protect their account holders and of course they are protecting their interests too. My banker gave me some excellent tips for maximum security when using a debit or credit card. I mentioned that I like paying at the pump and he told me that as convenient as that is he suggests using my card inside at the counter. Skimming technology is so advanced that it is extremely difficult to tell if there is a device attached to the pump. Here are some more tips to help you maximize security when using your credit cards.

1. Use discretion when choosing an ATM and always look for anything out of place. Whenever I need cash I always use the ATM at my bank, fortunately it’s only a couple of minutes away.

2. Use your debit card like a credit card and don’t enter your personal identification number.

3. If you do use your personal identification number, before you enter it observe what or who is around you, and shield your entry especially if you suspect a camera close by.

4. Always keep a close check on your accounts and if something is out of the ordinary then you need to act right away.

5. If you do pay at the pump look for security cameras, many convenience stores are under video surveillance and cameras could be aimed at the key pad.

6. Don’t let your card out of your sight. Be careful using it in restaurants and make sure it is your card when it is returned to you.

When using the internet you must keep your shields up and your anti-virus up to date. Be extremely careful with whom you do business, and extra careful when giving out personal information including credit cards. If your identity has been compromised or stolen, here is a list of actions you should take.

1. Contact your bank, credit card companies, and other financial institutions that you do business with and have accounts with. Advise them of your current situation so they can take proper action and minimize the damage as much as possible.

2. Get your credit report, from all three bureaus if you live in the United States, and go over it in great detail. Look for any anomalies such as inquiries into your credit from companies you haven’t done business with, activity on your existing accounts that you can’t justify, and new accounts you didn’t activate. Double check to make sure your social security number, addresses, and employment are correct.

3. Contact every agency that has issued you any type of identification card, most commonly of course would be your driver’s license. Cancel your current identification cards and have new one issued. Ask the agency in question if they have a system that can place an alert on your file so that no one can get any identifiable documents from them in your name.

4. File a report with the police and the Federal Trade Commission if you live in the United States. Make sure you get a copy of the police report. It may be of help to you in proving to your accounts that you have been a victim of identity theft.

To be in compliance with United States Federal Trade Commission Regulations, I must tell you that I, or my publishing company, may receive a commission from the sale of these products or programs. It takes a great deal of time to research, investigate, assemble, and publish, and to be honest, the few dollars  in commissions I, or my company, make in bringing you the best of the best in programs are what keeps my company going.  Allow me to take this time to thank you for reading this article and reviewing the following offers.


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