Skimming is an act of stealing information through the magnetic strip on the cards that are used in ATMs and merchant establishments. Fraudsters collect information from a credit/debit/ATM card by reading the magnetic strip on the reverse of the card. For doing this, they conceal a small device in the card slot of ATM's or merchant payment terminals. This 'skimmer' scans the card details and stores its information. A tiny strategically positioned camera may also be used to capture the PIN. Skimming can occur in ATMs, restaurants, shops or other locations.
- At ATM machines
Fraudsters insert a skimming device to the ATM's card slot. This device scans the card and stores its associated information. While a customer keys in his PIN, the wireless skimming device transfers the data to the fraudsters. This information is then used by the fraudsters for online shopping or to make counterfeit credit cards.
- At Restaurants / Shopping Outlets
At restaurants and shopping outlets, the credit card is swiped twice, once for the regular transaction and the other in the skimmer that captures the personal information which is retrieved later by the fraudsters.
Tips to Avoid Skimming
- Protect your PIN by standing close to the ATM and shielding or cover the key pad with your other hand when entering your PIN
- If you see anything unusual, strange, suspicious, something that does not look right with the ATM or if the keypad does not feel securely attached, stop your transaction and inform the bank
- If it appears to have anything stuck onto the card slot or key pad, do not use it. Cancel the transaction and walk away. Never try to remove suspicious devices
- Be cautious if strangers offer to help you at an ATM, even if your card is stuck or you are having difficulties. Do not allow anyone to distract you
- Keep your PIN a secret. Never reveal it to anyone, even to someone who claims to be calling from your bank or a police officer
- Check that other people in the queue are at reasonable distance away from you
- Regularly check your account balance and bank statements, and report any discrepancies to your bank immediately
Below are additional tips for staying safe when using an ATM:
- Memorise your PIN – never write it down or store it with your card(s)
- Have your card and envelopes ready for your transaction when you approach the ATM
- Be aware of your surroundings and people nearby
- Monitor your account, statements and report suspicious transactions to the bank
- Do not take help offered by strangers or allow anyone watch you enter your PIN
- Always press the 'Cancel' button once your transaction is over
Learn more about safe banking tips through interesting videos
An application to enhance the security of your online account with OTP
Learn about Credit Scores, Nomination, Banking Ombudsman and more.
Read the RBI advisory against Phishing emails sent in its name.