I have been warning you about the dangers of skimmers since the inception of Scamicide and in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.” Recently a new wave of skimmer identity theft has been sweeping the country, with police in White Pine, Tennessee among the many places reporting an increase in this criminal activity. As those familiar with Scamicide or my book know, a skimmer is a small electronic device that fits over any machine used to read credit cards or debit cards, such as ATMs, gas pumps or other similar devices. Often the skimmer can be hard to recognize. When you run your card through what you think is a legitimate card reader, your card’s information is provided to an identity thief who can use this information to make you a victim of identity theft, use your credit card to run up purchases in your name or use your debit card to empty your bank account.
Limit your use of ATMs to those of banks with which you are familiar and feel around the card insert to see if there is any indication that the device has been tampered with. Also shield the key pad from any prying cameras that may be attempting to read your PIN when you insert it. Also feel the pad itself to make sure that it has not been tampered with by overlaying the pad with a thin cover that electronically steals your PIN. For more information about skimmers, you may want to get my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.” You can click on the link that shows the book on the right side of this page to go directly to Amazon to get the book at a reduced price. Also, do not use your debit card for any purchases because the protections that you have if your debit card information is compromised through a skimmer is much less than if you use a credit card.