A growing problem in Florida is the use of skimmers on credit card machines. Skimmers are small devices attached over the actual card reader. When you insert your card, the device reads your card information and then sends it electronically to the person who installed it.
Skimming devices have grown more complex in recent years. As soon as steps are taken to identify current devices, the criminals have already developed a new method of skimming card numbers.
Before swiping your credit or debit card, you will want to carefully examine the card reader and look for these signs:
- A loose card reader device. If the card reader looks stranger or is loose, then it might be a skimmer. If you pull on it, it should not move. If it moves, even the slightest, it could be a skimming device.
- Glance around for any possible hidden cameras. The cameras will be very small but pointed in the direction of the keypad. The cameras record the keystrokes you use to enter in your PIN on the keypad or the billing postal code. It is always a good idea to cover the keypad with your hand when entering any information.
- A loose fitting keypad. Try to move the keypad. If it is loose, it is a skimming keypad device. This type of skimmer records your keystrokes as you push the buttons
It is important to keep in mind not all retailers are targets of skimming in Florida. Gas stations are the most frequently used since it is easy to attach the devices to the gas pumps. Big box retailers are also another target of skimmers because it is easy to distract a cashier or use a “self-service” checkout and attach a skimmer.
Tips for Protecting Yourself Against Skimming
If possible, pay in cash at the higher risk merchants by getting traveler’s cheques before your holiday to Florida. All retailers will accept cash and traveler’s cheques.
If you are concerned about carrying large amounts of cash or cheques with you, another option is to set up credit and debit card spending limits and alerts. Alerts will notify you anytime a purchase is made on your debit or credit card so you can easily monitor your purchases.
Spending limits will put a cap on how much you can spend on the card each day so your card is not maxed out your bank account emptied by a criminal. You can set these up with your bank before your trip so a text message is sent directly to your smartphone.
By taking some precautions, you can help avoid your holiday turning into a disaster. The last thing you want is to be in Florida on holiday and not have any money your cards were skimmed.
Taking It Mobile wishes you happy and safe holiday travels to Florida. If you have nonworking devices that have data on them you want to be recovered, please feel free to contact us at 888.877.5002 (1-888-Call-TIM) to learn more about our data recovery services.