Protect your credit card from shimming during holiday shopping

The holiday shopping season is already underway and that means credit and debit cards are getting a workout.

While chips on these cards make it harder for thieves to steal your information, there is a new technique scammers are using to outsmart the technology. You may have heard of the term skimming before and this new technology is similar but is even harder to detect. It's known as "shimming."

Shimming is when someone inserts a paper-thin card-sized device inside the slot where you enter the chip side of your card. The device is embedded with a microchip and flash storage that can copy and save your payment information.

Scammers can then collect your card and pin number and use it to make purchases or withdraw money from your accounts. To protect yourself from shimming, you need to pay attention to where you use your card.

Kayla Gilbert a Community Outreach Specialist the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina says, "If you are at the gas pump or using an ATM, and it's resisting, or you feel a little tug, that is definitely a red flag definitely alert the attendant, or bank teller and let them know."

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to protect yourself from shimming.

  • Keep a close eye on your bank and credit accounts. Check your online statements regularly to make sure there are no suspicious charges. If you see any, report them to your bank or credit card company immediately. Use the customer service number on the back of the card to be sure you are reaching the real company and not an imposter. Make sure you contact the bank and your card issuer if you ever suspect your card has been compromised.
  • Use contactless payment methods. Contactless payment methods are not vulnerable to shimming. Try using "tap-and-go" features on your credit card instead of swiping or inserting your card. You can also use contactless mobile services such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay to tap and pay.
  • Go inside to a teller to withdraw cash at a bank.
  • Use ATMs in banks rather than more vulnerable standalones.
  • Cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN.
  • Don't proceed with a transaction if your card encounters resistance when it is inserted.
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