<div class="gallery-item"> <h2>ATM Machines</h2>Thieves have been skimming debit (and credit) card information from ATM machines for years, and the innovation of chip cards was partly developed to address this risk. As the credit card industry advances, though, thieves adapt — and Consumer Reports notes they now have “shimmers” that can read chip-based cards. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Gas Stations</h2>Gas stations are a haven for credit card thieves, as the pumps see a lot of customers and often receive minimal supervision. As a result, thieves have ample opportunity to install skimmers and sometimes tiny cameras that capture PIN numbers. The problem is so bad, the Secret Service has gotten involved. The agency found almost 200 skimmers at 400 gas stations during a crackdown in 2018. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Mobile Vendors</h2>While there are many trustworthy mobile vendors who are trying to earn an honest living, there also can be thieves who pose as such vendors. At festivals, fairs, concerts and other events, attendees sometimes don’t know whether a vendor is legit or uses a card skimmer. This can leave your card susceptible. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Dining Establishments</h2>While some restaurants now swipe your card in a visible location, many still run cards in the back of the house where you can’t see it. Should an establishment or individual server be unscrupulous, they could swipe your card through a skimmer and charge more than just your meal. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Chain Retailers</h2>Large chain retail stores might seem like safer places to use a credit card because they have more resources to invest in security. The number of people who swipe cards at retailers makes them especially promising targets for thieves, though, and some have managed to get through the security measures in place. Target, TJX — which operates T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s — and others have had data breaches involving cards. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Online Retailers</h2>An online transaction can leave your credit card information exposed at multiple points. The information can be stolen by malware on your device, a middle person who intercepts the transmission or a data breach of the retailer you buy from.
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<div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Anywhere That Stores Information</h2>The risk of credit card theft doesn’t end when you swipe your card. Any business that stores your credit card number could experience a data breach during which a hacker attains access to your card information. These types of attacks have affected large and small sellers in many different industries. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How To Protect Your Credit Card</h2>With so many potential ways your credit card information can be compromised, you likely can’t eliminate the threat of credit and debit card theft altogether. There are steps you can take to better protect your card information, though. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Use High-Visibility ATMs</h2>While any ATM machine might have a skimmer installed, ones that aren’t monitored well are more likely to be tampered with. To reduce the risk posed by ATM skimmers, look for machines the same way you’d try to minimize the potential of a mugging. Go to a high-traffic and highly visible machine, and preferably one that’s in a secure location (e.g., a bank) if possible. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Check Readers at Gas Stations</h2>When you use a credit card at a gas station, briefly check the pump’s reader to see whether it looks like it’s been tampered with. If there are any abnormal stickers, if the inspection seal reads “void” or if there are loose parts, pay inside — you’re less likely to have your card stolen if you run it at the cash register. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Look At Other Nearby Readers</h2>If you’re at a location where other, identical credit card readers are nearby, glance at the other readers to see if they look the same as the one you’re using. If there’s a noticeable difference between the readers on two otherwise identical ATMs or fuel pumps, one could have a skimmer attached. Find somewhere else to use your card. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Jiggle the Reader</h2>Before you swipe your card at a nonmonitored location like an ATM or fuel pump, give the reader a slight tug. If anything seems loose, don’t use your card there. A thief could’ve loosened something to install a camera or skimmer. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Vet Mobile Vendors</h2>To make sure a mobile vendor at least runs a legitimate business, vet them before you hand over your credit or debit card. Ask them about where they’re located, check for pictures of their facility and look them up online if you’d like. This will at least ensure you’re paying a real business and not someone who’s just posing as a local or mobile vendor.