Skimmers: What They Are & How To Spot Them

What is a Skimmer?

A skimmer is a device that is placed over a card reader, that scans your card information as it passes through. Thieves use these devices to steal your debit or credit card numbers, and make purchases with them at a later date. They are often placed on gas station fuel pumps, and are not easily detected.

If you have scanned your card through a skimmer, chances are you won’t know until you start seeing fraud on your account. Too many times, these devices are placed and not detected for weeks or months. This is why it is crucial to always keep an eye on your accounts, and make sure that every transaction is one that you made.

How to Spot a Skimmer

It can be almost impossible to tell if skimmer has been placed on a card reader. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Take A Closer Look – Check the card reader and machine for evidence that it has been tampered with. If there is an area that looks like it has been pried open, that is an immediate red flag. If the card reader itself looks bulky or out of place with a different color or material than the rest of the machine, that could be another sign of a skimmer.

Check The Sticker – Many gas stations are now putting stickers on their fuel pumps. If the sticker is torn, do not use that fuel pump. Even if there is a separate sticker placed that is not broken, you should not trust it.

Be Aware – Always be observant of your surroundings anytime you are making a purchase. If you are at a fuel pump or ATM, take a glance at the other machines nearby to see if those look similar to the one you are using. If not, don’t use either one.

Hide Your PIN – Along with the card reading devices, thieves will place a fake keyboard or camera nearby to capture your PIN. Anytime you enter your PIN, you should do so as if someone is looking over your shoulder. Cover the keypad with one hand as you enter your PIN with the other.

If you notice anything suspicious, you should immediately report it to the business. If you believe you have been a victim of debit/credit card skimming, please give us a call at 281.487.9333.

Reported Skimmers Found:
Seller’s Brothers/Valero Convenience Store
10990 Red Bluff Rd (intersection at Bay Area Blvd)