How do credit card skimmers work?


Quick Answer

Credit card skimmers are devices that store credit card information when a card is run through them so that a thief can then use such information to make fraudulent charges on the card, according to About.com. Such skimmers can either be attached to a handheld device and used by people like waiters outside of the view of the owner or inserted into other devices, such as automated teller machines or movie rental kiosks.

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Full Answer

Such skimmers are effective in committing fraud because the owner may not be aware of the fraudulent charge until he receives a monthly bill much later, warns About.com. One of the best ways to prevent such thefts or catch them immediately is to make a habit of checking charge accounts frequently to detect any unusual activity. Another method of prevention involves the user keeping an eye on the card when handing it over for a purchase.

One way to prevent credit card information from being stolen at an ATM is to be vigilant of any unusual details, such as an attachment on a machine or a camera pointed at a keypad, states About.com. Thieves often use video to steal personal identification numbers from users, which they can then use in combination with card number information to remove funds from accounts.

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