There has unfortunately been a surge of card skimming activity throughout Florida and Alabama. It’s time to say “not today, skimmers” and take precautions for your financial safety.

There are many skimming methods to steal your card information; some attach a skimming device inconspicuously to the ATM. Gas stations, department stores, etc., also may have compromised POS machines with the skimmer placed on them.

Usually, the skimmer on a POS machine can be detected if you look carefully for any unusual projecting parts. There are also some YouTube videos that can help you identify a skimmer at any POS.

What additional steps can a careful consumer take to protect against these devices? While it may not be possible to completely avoid skimmers, here are a few tips from this fdacs.gov article that will reduce your risk at the pump:

  • Pay in cash or use a credit card inside the store.
  • Check for security tape on pump locks or seams indicating the pump has been inspected.
  • Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and does not appear to have been tampered with.
  • Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store.
  • Use a credit card chip reader if it is available.
  • If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN number.
  • Monitor bank and credit card accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
  • Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.

You might say it pays to be paranoid in today’s world full of crooks and thieves. In case of credit cards, the main issue is their prevalence. Almost 72% of people have them, but only a fraction understand the technology and its vulnerabilities. If you are more careful with your credit card, you can avoid scams easily.

Sign up for Card Alerts on your Pen Air Mastercard debit and credit cards to keep a close eye on your transactions. Visit penair.org/Security for even more education on how to keep your money safe.

Sources: fdacs.gov and BALANCE Financial Education.