July Scam of the Month: Skimming is Out. Shimming is In. - Council on Aging

Recently, banks and credit card companies created security chips and issued new cards to combat scammers and skimming machines.  In response, scammers have developed a new technique called “shimming.”

A shim is a paper thin, plastic device that has an embedded microchip and storage.  Scammers can insert the shim into an ATM, gas station pump, or any card reader without you knowing it, then your card information is copied when you put it into the same slot. Later, the scammer returns to download the personal information saved like your account number and PIN. 

                             Shim Card Example
The Better Business Bureau has issued some steps to protect consumers from shimming:
  • Keep a close eye on your bank accounts. It’s important to check your online bank accounts regularly, especially after using an ATM or a gas pump. 
  • Be vigilant. If you encounter resistance when sliding your card into the slot, cancel the transaction and notify your financial institution.
  • Use ATMs inside the bank. This step doesn’t guarantee safety but they seem to be less vulnerable than isolated ATMs.
  • Go inside. If possible, pay inside at the gas station or get your cash withdrawal from the teller.
  • Switch to contactless payment. Contactless payment is not vulnerable to shimming scams. Try using your card’s “tap and go” feature, if equipped. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay also offer an extra level of protection.

    Resources: Better Business Bureau, WSMV Channel 4