Skimming is a fraudulent technique used to collect sensitive card details by using a discreet device, typically placed on ATMs or gas station payment terminals. The purpose of skimming is to clandestinely capture information from the magnetic stripe or chip embedded in the payment card, including the cardholder’s name, card number, and expiration date. Skimmers range from small, inconspicuous devices that fit over the card slot to more advanced ones that employ technology to wirelessly transfer the stolen data to criminals.

When an unsuspecting user inserts their card into a compromised machine, the skimming device reads the card’s information, while a hidden camera or keypad overlay may also record the PIN code entered. With this stolen data, perpetrators can create cloned cards, make unauthorized online purchases, or sell the information to other criminals. Due to their discreet nature, skimmers are favored by fraudsters as they can be easily installed and quickly retrieved, leaving victims oblivious to the act until unauthorized transactions appear on their accounts. Ultimately, skimming poses a significant threat to the security and privacy of individuals’ financial information.

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