Opportunistic people will do just about anything to make a quick buck, even if it means stealing your identity, and draining your bank accounts. Skimming, and shimming has become a quick and easy way to do this, and Michigan isn't immune.

So while you're out traveling this summer, and for the holidays, be sure to double check your ATMs - especially ones not at a bank - to be sure you aren't being scammed.

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Card skimming, and shimming, is obviously illegal in Michigan, and can result in Michiganders not only having their bank accounts drained, and their credit cards maxed out, but also have their identities stolen.

For these criminals, it's as easy as installing a simple card reader over the top of an area where you would "insert" or swipe your card for a purchase, or to collect money from an ATM. And these devices come in all shapes and sizes. Criminals have built them to slip on over the top of just about any card reader.

Shimming Theft Michigan

There are also two different types of card theft in these scenarios.

Card "Shimming" is when the device reading the cards is reading the chip that many credit and debit cards have embedded in them now. Initially, the chip readers were made to made using your card safer from thefts. But criminals devised a new device that can now read the chips, too.

The older version of this crime, card "skimming" is still used in some places where cards can be swiped. You'll usually see these in stores that utilize the older card readers, and sadly, sometimes, the store owners, or someone associated with the store can be the culprit behind the skimmer.

Card Skimming Michigan

How Can I Avoid Having My Card Data Stolen?

There are a few ways to make sure your card's information isn't stolen.

The first is to grab the card reader where you will be swiping, or inserting your card. If something feels loose, or a faceplate comes off, then it's a real possibility someone has installed a skimmer on top of it.

The other way is to get the new "tap" cards. So far, criminals who have been known to use skimmers haven't figured out how to beat the "tap" function on card readers. However, beware of using your phone for the same function in some places.

But that's a whole different article.

If you think you've been a victim of fraud, you can report it to the Consumer Protection Team by calling 517-241-7599, or visit their website to fill out an online complaint form.

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