There are many people who become victims of criminals that "skim" their credit card details as soon as their card is put into a compromised EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) machine. This problem is becoming an issue in stores and restaurants. Luckily, an EPOS machine manufacturer called Ingenico has released information to help you determine whether a machine is safe to use or not. Learn the ins and out of credit card skimming to protect your card details from being compromised:
A skimming terminal that's significantly larger than normal
A skimmer is longer and wider than an EPOS terminal, therefore a compromised terminal would be noticeably larger than an unaffected one. This is the primary feature you should take note of to ensure that a terminal (or machine) isn't compromised.
No button highlights
Take a look at the back-lighting for the buttons on the EPOS terminal you're about to use. If a skimmer is present, the lighting is likely to be very dim, if not nonexistent.
Frequent operational errors
A skimmer can get in the way of an EPOS machine's magnetic trip when they're being used to steal data. This causes operational errors and slows down the machine significantly. If a machine is operating a lot slower than it should be, that's cause for alarm.
Green LED light is blocked
For the most part, EPOS machines have a little green light that's illuminated when it's operating. An attachable skimmer would block this light if in place, therefore pay attention to whether you can see the green light.
A stylus is not attached
Some skimmers make it impossible for a stylus to be attached to a compromised EPOS machine. If you need to enter your signature to make a payment using this method, yet find yourself unable to, that's also a cause for suspicion.
Further tips for protecting your money
- Keep a separate debit card that's only credited with the amount of money you need to make a purchase.
- If your bank offers SMS banking, make sure you sign up for the service, as it will allow your bank to notify you if and when one of your cards becomes compromised.
- Set withdrawal limits on all of your cards. This will allow you to put a block on a compromised card as soon as you find out about any trouble.
- If you ever think that one of your cards has been compromised, be sure to notify your bank immediately.
- Learn about card insurance options and their associated terms that are available from your bank. You might find that it has a special program you can enroll in to protect your cards from any fraud and have any amounts lost as a result reimbursed in full.
- Always make sure that you can see a store employee or waiter making a transaction from your card.
- Always make sure that the field denoting the paid amount on a receipt is not empty.
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