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Places where you should keep an eye on your cards

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Credit card fraud has become a constant and widespread threat, and debit cards are not immune to theft either.


Thieves have stolen debit (and credit) card information from ATMs for years, and the innovation of chip cards was developed in part to address this risk.

However, as the credit card industry advances, thieves adapt.

While any ATM can have a skimmer installed, those that are not well-monitored are more likely to be tampered with.

To reduce the risk posed by ATM skimmers, look for machines the same way you would try to minimize the potential for a robbery. Use a high-traffic and highly visible machine, and preferably one that is in a secure location (for example, a bank) if possible.

Gas stations

Gas stations are a haven for credit card thieves . As a result, thieves have ample opportunity to install skimmers and sometimes tiny cameras that capture PIN numbers.

The problem is so serious that, for example, the US Secret Service became involved.

The agency found nearly 200 skimmers at 400 gas stations during a crackdown in 2018.

When using a credit card at a gas station, briefly check the reader at the pump to see if it looks like it has been tampered with. If there are any abnormal decals, if the inspection stamp says “void” or if there are any loose parts, pay inside: your card is less likely to be stolen if you swipe it at the register.

Mobile Providers

While there are many reliable mobile providers trying to make an honest living, there can also be crooks posing as such providers . At festivals, fairs, concerts, and other events, attendees sometimes don’t know if a vendor is legitimate or uses a card reader. This can leave your card susceptible.

Food Establishments

While some restaurants now swipe your card in a visible place, some still have cards in the back where you can’t see them. If an establishment or individual waiter is unscrupulous, they could run your card through a skimmer and charge more than just your food.

Large chain stores

Large retail chain stores may seem like safer places to use a credit card because they have more resources to invest in security.

However, the number of people swiping cards at retailers makes them especially promising targets for thieves, and some have managed to get past security measures in place.

Online Stores

An online transaction can expose your credit card information at multiple points . Information can be stolen by malware on your device, a middleman intercepting the transmission, or a data breach from the retailer you buy from.

Any place that stores information

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 gains access to your card information.

These types of attacks have affected vendors large and small in many different industries.

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