It looks like having to pay by check is about to go the route of the analog TV. For many years check fraud was rampant and an issue police officials had a tough time dealing with. It is now on the decline as reported by the Financial Crime Enforcement Network. Why is it on the decline? Evidently consumers are beginning to make use of fewer checks.

Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said for debit cards. As their use has gone up so too has the number of criminal activities. One of the techniques which are extremely prominent in these crimes and charge cards on the whole is skimming which is one of the top 5 ways identity thieves steal your information.

Skimming occurs when a small piece of equipment is used to read your personal credit card information without you being aware. The tool after reading the credit card creates a photocopy which identity thieves use to drain your account dry. There are a number of methods they can carry out skimming.

1. The Automatic Teller Machine

This skimming apparatus can be rigged at an automatic teller machine without anybody noticing until it's way too late. It works especially well if the automatic teller machine is inside the financial institution's vestibule. Thieves sometimes will install it so it not only skims the data but also takes the charge card so as to give the appearance of being caught in the atm. Once you leave to notify someone the criminal makes their move and removes the card before you get back.

Just how well does it work? Only recently a person from California. Police explained the person installed the skimmer and afterwards utilized the information to make bogus debit cards

2. The Retail Store or Eatery

The check comes and you give the card to the waiter. They go in back and basically swipe the card out of your sight. From time to time it's a little more audacious. You give the card to the cashier and they have a skimmer right there. However the device is so inconspicuous and the transactions happens so fast that you don't realize what is going on.

3. The Gas Station

This may not be a brand new phenomenon however it is expanding particularly with the rise of the self-service gas pump. The skimming operates in the same way as the automatic teller machine. Thieves arrive when the service station is not open (sometimes not) and the skimmer on the pump. As you cover your gasoline the card information has been recorded. As things become more state-of-the-art the criminals don't even have to make an appearance. The information is passed on to a remote hosting server where scammers are waiting to record your information.

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