Shimming and Skimmers On the Rise
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Practical Tips to Keep You Safe

We live in a digital world, so keeping your personal information secure and understanding the tools fraudsters use to commit crimes is critical.

Shimming and Skimmers On the Rise

Once again, fraudsters are targeting ATMs and gas pumps. They are using card-like devices to capture card details from the card’s magnetic stripe and EMV chip and then take the information off it to create counterfeit cards. Fraudsters often use what is known as “shimming or skimming devices” to conduct their fraudulent acts. Shimming devices, paper-thin, and slips or shims between the chip on an EMV card became popular in 2018 when many cards transitioned to EMV or chip cards. Skimmers (shown below) are false fronts or devices attached to ATM and gas pump terminals to harvest the details off a card’s magnetic stripe.

A shimming device (see photo from one recently found on a credit union-owned ATM) can be very difficult to detect. The slim card-shaped device is wedged or shimmed into the card reader, allowing it to read each card inserted into the machine. Because the shimming device is out of sight and hidden within the reader, it can go virtually undetected by ATM users and even slip through the financials’ visual inspection of the ATM. In addition, a small camera or overlaid touchpads can be used to track ATM PIN keystrokes. These devices are often well-disguised and not noticeable to ATM users. Once the card information is captured, the criminal creates a counterfeit card that they use to target ATMs to obtain cash. They may even use these cards internationally.

What can you do to protect your card? Look closely before inserting your card at any ATM, at the pump or any POS terminal. Cover your hand to hide your PIN when entering it at an ATM or POS. If you find a device, report it to the financial or retailer straight away. You can also freeze your debit card by going into Online or Mobile Banking. Go to one of your accounts then look for the Freeze/UnFreeze Debit Card button on top of the account. Keep in mind that freezing your account will also stop upcoming scheduled payment transactions.

Skimming Shimming Devices