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How To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Counterfeit Credit Card Fraud This Summer

How To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Counterfeit Credit Card Fraud This Summer

Summer is in full swing and unfortunately, it’s a good time of year for criminals to commit counterfeit card fraud.

Criminals attach card skimmers to payment devices all year long, but the travel season offers them the opportunity to catch even more consumers unaware. Traveling consumers use their cards at gas pumps and ATMs more often than usual as they fuel up for a road trip or take out cash to use at the amusement park.

Card skimmers are designed to be hard to notice, but there are a few simple things consumers should be doing to reduce their chances of having their card data compromised:

  1. Do a quick check of the payment terminal first. If it looks like it has been tampered with – the security tape is broken, pieces are loose, or the card reader is bulkier than normal – notify the store or bank attendant.
  2. Try to use ATMs inside bank or store locations – it’s far riskier for criminals to install card skimmers inside a bank versus on a standalone, free-standing ATM. And try to avoid ATMs in heavily trafficked tourist areas, as these ATMs are popular targets for criminals.
  3. Pay inside at the gas station when possible, as the payment terminals inside are less likely to be compromised. Also, avoid using gas pumps that are farther away from the gas station – the ones closest to the attendant are less likely to be tampered with.
  4. Withdraw funds on a weekday if possible, as criminals prefer installing skimming devices on weekends and holidays – the bank won’t be open again until Monday, or in the case of a long holiday weekend, until Tuesday, which leaves criminals plenty of time to gather payment card data.
  5. Always cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN. The card data that criminals gather from skimming devices allows them to counterfeit new copies of a payment card – but to withdraw cash from an ATM, criminals need a consumer’s PIN for the counterfeit card to work. This information is usually captured by a hidden camera and, as sophisticated as some modern skimming devices can be, using your hand to cover the keypad blocks the view of any cameras that criminals may have installed on the machine to capture PIN data.

For merchants, we recommend regularly checking payment terminals for tampering and employing a layered security approach when it comes to safeguarding consumer data.

The introduction of EMV into the U.S. payments landscape has made it harder for criminals to gather card data and produce counterfeit cards, but card fraud is not a problem that is going away anytime soon. Criminals will continue to refine their methods, so merchants and consumers need to be vigilant and employ all security measures available to them.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting your business with MiPoint – a payment solution offering the layered security of EMV, end-to-end encryption, and tokenization – contact MiCamp today.

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