Card skimming evolved: shimming

It's even harder to detect, but there are easy ways for you to protect yourself.
hand offering debit or credit card (Source: Storyblocks)

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – If card skimmers weren’t bad enough, they’ve become even harder to detect with the advent of shims. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of ways to defend against this evolved threat.

Where skimmers are relatively bulky and easy to notice, a shim is paper-thin, hidden in the card slot of a gas pump, ATM, or wherever else you need to insert a card. These are more sophisticated as well, able to pull information from chip cards.

“Those are awfully secure,” Josh Planos of the Better Business Bureau said. “But unfortunately, when you stick that card into those terminals, there’s still the opportunity for scammers to make away with your personal information and payment information.”

That statement, however, leads to one of the best ways of protecting yourself. Notice that Planos mentions inserting a card. There’s a reason for that.

“Unless the card is actually making contact with the device, you’re going to be safe”, he says. “Contactless payment is here to stay and contactless payment is a really great, safe opportunity for you to save your money without running the risk of fraud.”

Let’s say you’re in a situation where tap to pay isn’t an option. There is another easy way to limit your damage: just use your credit card instead of debit.

Planos explains that in most situations, “Folks who have a compromised debit card and have that account information swiped, and have those bank accounts emptied never see that money again.”

On the other hand, most credit cards have a number of protections in place. “You could steal my card tomorrow, rack up $100,000 in debt, and I wouldn’t be liable for a cent of it,” Planos said.

Whether you use credit or debit, another way to keep on top of things is to watch your statements. That is the best way to catch illegitimate charges and start on the road to locking down your accounts.

Even though shims themselves are harder to detect, there are easy ways to avoid being scammed. They take just a little more effort each time, but it’s well worth it.

Categories: News