There have been many recent reports of card skimmers present at large retail stores across New Hampshire, including at Walmart and Marketing Basket in Concord. To best protect your financial information, it’s important to understand how these devices work and to be alert to be alert when using your card.
Card skimmers are illegal devices installed on card readers to capture the information stored on the card’s magnetic strip. This information includes your name, card number, expiration date, and security (CVV) code. In some cases, the fraudster will also add a microscopic camera or key logging device to capture additional information, such as your personal identification number (PIN) or security code.
Skimmers are often installed on self-service terminals such as self-checkout stations, gas pumps, stand-alone ATMs or vending machines. In some cases, devices can transmit the stolen data to the thief and in others they return to retrieve the device and download the information.
Being alert when you use your card is important. Signs that a skimmer may be present include, but are not limited to:
- Unusual damage to the card reader or surround.
- Glue or adhesive marks on or surrounding the card reader.
- Unusual brochure holders or plastic panels added above or around the card reader or PIN pad that could contain a camera.
- Unusual feeling keyboard or a keyboard that appears to sit higher than usual.
- Unexpected outcomes or malfunctions when using the card reader or ATM.
As skimming devices have become more sophisticated, it can be difficult to tell if a terminal has been tampered with. To stay safe:
- Instead of swiping your card, use your mobile wallet (Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay® and Google Pay™) or the contactless “tap” feature.
- Monitor your accounts regularly using online or mobile banking and notify your bank or card company right away if you suspect fraud.
- Avoid suspicious or unfamiliar card terminals or ATMs. Skimming devices need to be manually installed, so the fraudster is likely to target less visible and low traffic locations.
- Inspect the terminal before use and shield your PIN from view when you are entering it.
- Be aware of your surroundings and proximity to others.
If you locate a skimming device, immediately contact local law enforcement to report it. If you fall victim to skimming or notice any suspicious activity on your MVSB accounts, please contact us as soon as possible.