Unfortunately credit card skimming is becoming a common scam, and is getting harder to spot. We've provided some information so you can know what to look out for.


How does bank or credit card skimming work?

Credit or bank card skimming works through devices that can be designed to blend in with hardware on an ATM or a regular in-store card reader (such as an EFTPOS machine). When a bank card is used through one of these skimming devices it captures the details that are stored on the card’s magnetic strip.

The people behind these devices can then download your bank card details from the tampered ATM or in-store device. With your information, they can steal money from your bank accounts, buy items or create counterfeit cloned credit cards.

What Is RFID Skimming?

There's also RFID (radio-frequency identification) skimming, where a scammer with an RFID reader may be able to steal your credit card number or personal information simply by walking within a few feet of you. It works by wirelessly stealing your bank card information, allowing the scammer to use your details fraudulently.

Things to look out for on skimming devices

Be aware of the key signs of skimming:

  • In-store payment devices are often separate from standard EFTPOS machines, so your details will be scanned/tapped on two separate devices if a skimming device is present.

  • Look out to see if the keypad is overly raised or looks too shiny and new and if it looks like there are tiny cameras anywhere around the machine. If you notice any of these suspicious signs at the ATM, do not use it. Report the matter to the bank the ATM belongs to, as well as the police. If you’ve already used the machine, report it to your card provider as well.

ATM Skimming Device - additional device over where the card is inserted

ATM Skimming Device added over the PIN pad

How to prevent card skimming

  • Make sure you keep your card in sight and ensure that you are the only one to use it.

  • Never share your PIN with anyone and don't write it down on paper or in your phone. When inputting your pin, make sure you cover the keypad so others can't see what it is.

  • Try to avoid outdoor ATMs if you can as they are often easier to tamper with.

  • Check your credit card statements regularly or if you think money has been taken out of your account by someone else. If it has been taken out, contact your bank who can then freeze your account.

  • If you're heading overseas, make sure you let your bank know where you'll be and how long you will be away for. This will enable your bank to better spot suspicious and/or legitimate transactions.

  • If you suspect any fraudulent activity then make sure you report it, immediately contact your bank, the ATM provider and local authorities. You can also report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

If you notice any suspicious behaviour, report it to your card provider and local authorities. Have a chat to one of our Sonder team members who can provide advice and support.

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If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Finder, Department of Financial Institutions and Northwest Community Credit Union.

Image credit: Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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