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Skimming is a method by which thieves capture the data in the magnetic strip from your card and use it to create a new, counterfeit card.  The counterfeit cards are then used to process unauthorized transactions against your account.  There are two main methods of skimming card information:

  • A small device that appears to be a part of the machine is placed over the card insertion slot of an ATM, gas pump, or other self-service kiosk.  As you slide your card into the ATM, this device “reads” the data on the stripe and either stores it or transmits it to a nearby location.  Often times, there is also a small, hidden camera that captures your keystrokes as you input your PIN into the machine. 
  • The device is carried by an employee in a merchant’s store location.  When the employee walks away with your card to complete your transaction, they swipe the card through the skimming device and capture the magnetic stripe data.

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