Skimming for dollars

This image from the CyberSafe at USPS team shows how skimmers are placed over credit card readers to steal consumers’ information.

Sometimes a credit card reader isn’t what it appears to be.

Scammers are using “skimmers” — small, hard-to-detect devices that are placed over factory-installed credit card readers — to steal information.

The devices look like legitimate card readers. However, when a consumer unwittingly swipes a credit card, the skimmer allows criminals to collect PIN numbers and other information from the card’s magnetic strip.

Skimmers can be found anywhere, but often in areas frequented by tourists, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The CyberSafe at USPS team recommends you closely examine an ATM or other credit card reader before using it. If something’s amiss, use another machine.

Postal Service retail employees are also advised to monitor point-of-sale terminals to make sure scammers haven’t installed skimmers.

If it appears a skimmer has been installed, call the Postal Inspection Service at 800-275-8777.

The CyberSafe at USPS Blue site has additional security tips.