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In this modern world, it’s completely normal to use credit and debit cards. In fact, it’s much safer to walk around with a card than a pocket full of cash. It’s easy to carry and despite the interest rates, most of us prefer to pay for purchases on credit rather than paying upfront.
However, credit cards are not a 100% secure since ill-intentioned individuals have devised a way to scan credit card information using special machines. It’s a form of digital robbery.
Hundreds, if not thousands of people have become victims of these criminals. This sort of theft is aptly called skimming and you can be a victim without even knowing!
A credit card terminal manufacturer called Ingenico recently published a guide on how to identify a Skimmer Machine when swiping your card—they look almost identical to the standard terminal (Ingenico iSC250).
We at FeedFond believe that this important information may someday save you from financial ruin.
Here are the 5 things you should take note of when paying with a credit card:
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#5 A skimming machine is larger than the original
The principal method of identifying a skimming material is its shape. They are noticeably wider and larger than the original. Don’t swipe your card if you feel unsafe. Ask for another terminal or shop elsewhere.
A terminal with a skimmer attached will block out any button highlights/backlights. This happens when a skimmer is inserted hastily.
#3 Green LED Light is blocked
Another way to identify a skimmer is if the Green LED light is turned off during operation. The attachable skimmer blocks the function of the LED light.
#2 Stylus not Attached
Payment terminals always have a stylus attached so the customer can provide their signature. A signature is a requirement after the card is scanned. A skimmer inside an iSC250 doesn’t allow the stylus to be attached.
#1 Frequent operation errors
Take note when a terminal is operating slower than usual. Skimmers interfere with the magnetic strip when they scan the data, resulting in more errors than usual. This, in turn, slows down the normal terminal operations.
There are, however, a few simple ways to protect your money. The primary way is to have a separate debit card with limited money just for your regular use and expenses. Additionally, you can subscribe to SMS alerts to notify you if you have any unexpected debits from your account.
With credit cards, set a limit to your cash withdrawal so that criminals can’t draw your money all at once. If you pay with a card, make sure everything is done in front you. If not, store employees and waiters may skim your card discreetly. Always read and check the receipts after every payment.
Consulting your bank is a good idea. Save important bank or emergency numbers for your cards right on your phone so that you can call if you lose your card. The bank will be able to block it remotely. Some banks also offer insurance services for clients who are victims of fraud. A little safety may save you from a big financial headache!
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