University of Missouri Extension

Skimming

A new credit card fraud is beginning to make the rounds. "Skimming" involves copying the information from a card’s magnetic strip and creating a new card with the same account data. Card reading devices are readily available over the Internet.

When a credit card is stolen, the thief usually uses it as soon as possible , creating an unusual buying pattern that’s picked up by the issuer’s fraud-detection software. But a thief who "skims" a card doesn’t have to use it right away.  If your card issuer’s software detects transactions that differ from the way you’ve usually used your card in the past, you may get a call from the bank’s security department.

The best way to prevent skimming is not to let your card out of your sight, and to closely monitor your statement for unfamiliar purchases. In any case, you’re not liable for more than $50 worth of fraudulent credit card transactions.

Source: The months ahead: credit cards - call this a skim scam. (1999, June). Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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