Smartphone Apps Helping To Protect Against Credit Card Skimming

Credit card fraud is a growing concern among consumers around the country with instances of ATM skimming on the rise. Credit card skimming occurs when criminals place electronic devices on gas pumps, ATMs, etc. to copy the personal information stored on the card’s magnetic strip. Since the skimmers blend right into the frontage of an ATM, they are usually undetectable to the untrained eye.

Now, consumers have free smartphone apps that they can use for protection against these credit card skimming devices. Skimmer Locator (iPhone) and Skim Plus (Android) have been designed to detect these skimming devices.

Ken Colburn of Data Doctors said, “Essentially, what the app is doing, it’s profiling. It’s looking for a very specific signature that would denote the potential skimmer because we know hardware being used in these Bluetooth devices have a specific signature. It’s looking for that signature.”

When the app is turned on around ATMs, or gas pumps, it will inform users if there are any questionable devices installed. It also informs people where skimmers have been found in the past.

Although the apps can be an effective tool, drivers are still urged to remain vigilant since they aren’t guaranteed, and skimming devices continue to evolve. According to the FBI, you should always visually inspect any credit card reader to see if anything is loose or crooked before using it. Then, block the keypad from potential hidden cameras when entering your PIN. ATMs that are placed inside of businesses are considered to be safer.