Thieves have come up with yet another way to scam our credit cards. Law enforcement are finding slim plastic cards with electronics inside POS (point of sale) terminals. We were concerned before by skimmers where waiters could quickly scan your credit card into a pager sized device on their belt. Now we have shimmers which you cannot see inside the credit card machines.
HOW DO SHIMMERS WORK
The shimmer is a very thin plastic device that fits inside the card reader. If your credit card seems to stick inside the machine, that could be abnormal and should report it.
Most skimming devices are reading the information on your magnetic stripe. Shimmers are reading information from chip-based cards. Chips also store the same information that is on your magnetic stripe. They can clone your card using this information to a magnetic stripe, they cannot replicate chips. Also, this information can be used in the online black market.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF
- One good way to keep your credit card safe from shimming is to use the tap feature on those POS terminals for your debit and credit cards. This transfers very limited banking information and cannot be used to clone your card.
- Merchants are encouraged to frequently check their card readers.
- Everyone should be watching their accounts for unauthorized charges.
- Cover the pin pad when you are entering your pin.
- Stick to ATMs located in banks rather than stand-alones which are easier to hack into and not examined as often.