Credit Card Skimming

credit card skimming

Credit card skimming isn’t new. It’s been here for a while and while the skimmers have gotten bolder, their method has become more sophisticated.

Consequently, people continue to, fall victim to credit card skimmers, and It’s scary that it’s most times in the hands of people we thought we could trust.

I’m talking about the neighborhood liquor store, the grocery store, and even gas stations. Skimmers are everywhere!! And if there’s anywhere they have become notorious, that would be online.

This is why it’s important that you’re sure you don’t give anyone your credit card details. You must also ensure that you don’t click on just any link nor visit dubious sites where card skimmers will tell you to input your details.

And if you’re still wondering why you shouldn’t do the things I have mentioned above, kindly read more below.

This article will help you spot card skimming services. and the devices they use. Stay put.

What Is Credit Card Skimming?

Credit card skimming is an illegal practice used by thieves to capture credit card information from a cardholder surreptitiously.

According to statistics 80% of the population are less or not informed about credit card skimming and this gives criminals who possess such information aloft other individuals.

A credit card skimmer is a device installed on card readers that collects card numbers which criminals later recover and use this information to make fraudulent purchases.

Skimmers can easily be spotted by doing a quick visual or physical inspection before swiping or inserting a card as the case may be.

These skimmers are little, malicious card readers which are been hidden inside the legitimate card readers and when this is done it harvests’ data from every person that inserts their card.

After this hardware must have gathered a lot of data whoever is running the will extract the data collected and clone credit cards.

How Credit Card Skimming Works

Individuals who engage in these practices are called fraudsters, and their modus operandum is usually unknown to card users. These skimmer devices or gadgets are usually installed at gas pumps or ATM machines or even retail stores.

These devices help collect users’ card data, which is used later to access one’s account.

These skimming devices are mostly installed with cameras and overlay touchpads so that they can capture the personal identification numbers of cardholders.

Once this is achieved, they get unfettered access to your card. Credit skimmers are also installed on transit ticket dispensers and petrol stations and also pin numbers can be stolen through fake keypads placed above an actual ATM keypad.

As an individual slides a credit or master card into a machine that has been tampered with, the card skimmer will read the magnetic stripe on the card and save the card number.

Most times the pin of the individual is captured too; while sometimes a fake keypad is usually placed over the real one, and later on, these fraudsters scoop up the data and either sell it or use it.

When appropriate caution is taken it is possible for companies to detect if credit card skimming is going on in their organizations or not.

For instance, you can detect unrecorded sales by comparing your actual inventory with your book inventory. One essential point to note while trying to detect a skimming activity is to ensure if there is a correspondence between declining inventory levels and rising sales.

Other things to note include: infrequent bank deposits, recurring fluctuations in bank balances, and frequent shortages of cash at hand.

Credit Card Skimming Devices

Various devices can be used for skimming and they include:

  • Shim
  • Deep insert skimmer
  • Keyboard overlays
  • Network sniffer
  • Card reader interceptor
  • Video overlays


This device is most often paper-thin and simply inserted into the card slots. It’s found between the chip on the card and the chip reader and because of its position, it is able to read and copy the information from the credit card stripe when the card is swiped through the shim.

Deep Insert Skimmer:

Just as the name implies, it is inserted deep inside the card reader and it can reside hidden for days or weeks without being discovered.

Keyboard Overlays

It is commonly used and placed over the pin pad that intercepts the input as an individual types in their personal identification numbers.

Card Reader Interceptors

This looks exactly like the front of a card reader but they are not the same. Just like the skimmer device, they read the information off of the magnetic stripe but unlike the shim device, they don’t decrypt the chip and pin technology.

Network sniffers

This software is designed to steal information as it’s transmitted across the network.

Video overlays:

These devices record a person’s hand movements as they type in their pin via video as someone uses the entry pad. Most often they make use of audio to record the sound as one enters.

Wireless Credit Card Skimming

Wireless credit card skimmers usually have “3DESkeys” management and led lights that starts flashing after connecting to the Bluetooth.

These 3DESkeys are used to encrypt data in transit and at rest including EMV in order to protect credit card transactions.

A wireless credit card skimming can also be done when the criminal injects malicious code into a website. This will help the skimmer extract data from an HTML form that the user has filled in.

After the operation has been carried out the data is then submitted to a server under the control of the attacker.

Just as consumers have moved to e-commerce, card skimming activities are on the increase. criminals steal card numbers by planting small pieces of codes called “e- skimmers ” into e-commerce websites to capture and send them shoppers’ credit card information.

Most people who are into online marketing should beware of this very kind of skimming practice to avoid being victims.

A very good example of wireless card skimming is when you receive debits alerts for things you never purchased. It could happen in a familiar area or in a state different from yours.

This is usually after imputing your card details on a shady site or after making a card payment in the store down the block.

How To Prevent Credit Card Skimming

There are diverse ways to avert credit card skimming and they include;

#1 Jitter

This is an anti-skimming technique that is designed to make any information copied by a card skimmer unreadable and unusable. this technology makes it difficult for illegal cardholders to copy credit and debit card numbers, therefore making skimming impossible.

#2. Contact Less Payment

This method is not very popular as most people know nothing about it. This method of payment is the most secure for consumers to purchase products or services.

It is called the tap “Tap and go”, in banking and it makes use of Radio frequency identification technology and Near field communication.

#3. Use Trusted Payment Apps

It is advisable to make use of mobile payment apps such as; Android pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple pay. e.t.c.

#4. Be Vigilant

Be vigilant for signs of criminal activity, and check your credit card and bank statements frequently and carefully for unauthorized transactions.

#5 Ensure Your Card Is Used in Your Presence

Avoid letting sales attendants walk away with your credit cards, rather it is more advisable to make payments at the cash register where you can see what is happening.

ATM manufacturers have not taken this kind of fraud lightly, the newly produced Atm machines are made inclusive of robust defenses against tampering, and most of them include radar systems that are being put in check to detect objects attached to the ATM machines.

It is advisable for individuals to avoid making online payments through unknown sites, the fewer times you enter your card information, the less chance it will be stolen.

Individuals should regularly access cyber scan monitoring, which will let them know if their card information is exposed on the dark web so that they can protect their accounts.

To be on the safer side it is better to pay with cash, this is more advantageous because bank charges are exempted and individuals are less at risk of skimming.

Final Thoughts

Credit card skimming has cost a lot of people pain and money and might continue to do so for a long time. However, banks and credit card companies are devising means to curb this menace and help users not lose money anymore.

Therefore, you must do your part to avoid falling victim. Ensure you don’t click on unrecognizable links and sites. You must also not give your details to strangers that calls pretending to be your bank or CC company.

Furthermore, you must avoid retail stores that have a history of credit card skimming!!


What Credit card skimming.

Credit card skimming is an illegal practice used by thieves to capture credit card information from a cardholder surreptitiously.

How credit card skimming works.

These skimmer devices or gadgets are usually installed at gas pumps or ATM machines or even retail stores.

These devices help collect users’ card data, which is used later to access one’s account.

Devices used in credit card skimming.

They include

Deep insert skimmer
Keyboard overlays
Network sniffer
Card reader interceptor
Video overlays

Preventive steps to avoid credit card skimming .

Jitter- We have explained how it works above.

Be Vigilante

Ensure Your Card Is Used in Your Presence

Use Trusted Payment Apps:

Use contact Less Payment

Pay in cash more



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