This type of fraud is known as card skimming and it involves swiping your debit or credit card through a card reader that has been illegitimately set up to record information from your card’s magnetic stripe. Creator Samy Kamkar created his own homemade card skimming device and made the project open source.) After your information has been recorded, it is usually then sold to other scammers on the black market or converted into a counterfeit card and used to make fraudulent purchases.

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All an employee needs to do is wait until your attention is distracted to swipe your card from behind the counter.

Skimming devices are readily available on the Internet from websites such as e Bay for as little as $50.

Although card skimming techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the methods are generally the same.

Skimming devices are usually installed on machines like ATMs and handheld pinpads, but also come as standalone, portable versions that are small enough to fit inside your pocket.

Your card’s details may have been skimmed months or years prior to you discovering any fraudulent transactions on your statements.

Although debit and credit card companies can often perform data mining to find which retail establishments multiple victims have commonly used their cards at, at that point, it is often too late for the victim.

These devices are usually disguised under the name of a “card reader” because they can also serve legitimate purposes.

Skimming at restaurants also happens frequently, especially since customers often leave their credit card for the server to pick up, process, and return a few minutes later.

In these cases, a portable card reader is perfect because it is small enough to fit in the server’s pockets or apron.