How to Spot a Card Skimmer

What is a Card Skimmer?

A skimmer is a device employed by a fraudster that is designed to steal a victim’s plastic card information. That information is then used to produce a counterfeit card that can be used to defraud you! Skimmers are still commonly used and are responsible for more than a billion dollars in fraud per year!

Skimmers can take many forms and have become astonishingly sophisticated in recent years. Here are some examples:






Wait… Won’t Chip-Based Cards Solve this Problem?

The short answer is “not at first.” Skimmers work by reading the magnetic stripe on your cards, and those stripes aren’t going anywhere for a while. The so-called “mag stripe” is still there for backward compatibility purposes. Until every merchant, ATM, gas pump and POS device are chip compatible, we need the stripe.

How Do I Spot a Skimmer?

  • Look for signs of tampering. Is the keyboard too thick? Is there signage or lights, etc. that are partially obstructed by the keyboard or card reader?


  • Are there areas around the keyboard or card reader that are a different material or color?
  • Look for pinhole cameras designed to capture the PIN as it is entered.
  • Don’t be afraid to grab/wiggle things on an ATM or gas pump before you use it, particularly the keyboard and card reader. If they look loose or like they could be easily pried off, they are probably fake.

How Do Avoid this kind of Fraud?

  • Always carefully inspect the gas pump or ATM before using it. If there are multiple devices, look for differences between them.
  • Don’t let your card leave your sight if you can help it. Any time a server or someone takes your card out of your sight, you are at risk of being skimmed.
  • Minimize ATM use. If you need cash, take out enough so that you don’t have to keep going back.
  • Avoid using sketchy looking, hidden or poorly lit ATMs altogether.
  • Cover the keypad with your other hand when entering your PIN.
  • Use our Mobile Banking and MobiMoney apps to monitor your account closely and report suspicious transactions to our Call Center at 816-504-2800 as soon as possible. For more information, visit us at



Equifax Data Breach – What You Need to Know

On September 7, 2017, credit reporting agency, Equifax, reported a major cybersecurity incident that resulted in the compromise of personal data for at least 143 million consumers. Here’s what you need to know:
How do I know if I am affected?
  • Virtually all financial institutions, including Public Safety Credit Union, report  loan information to Equifax, so it is likely that many of our members are affected.
  • You can go to to see if you have been affected..

What type of information was potentially compromised?.

  • Equifax reports that name, social security number, birth date, address information and possibly drivers’ license data were compromised.
  • Equifax has NOT indicated that Credit Union account numbers were compromised.
  • Additionally, credit card numbers were compromised for about 200,000 consumers. This will likely only affect members that had provided their credit card directly to Equifax for services, such as credit monitoring, etc.

.What can I do to limit my risk?.

  • Keep a close eye on your accounts using GKCPSCU’s mobile banking and Mobimoney apps. Vigilance is the best weapon.
  • Use alerts in our online banking system to keep you in-the-know when activity occurs on your account.
  • Make sure your contact information is current with the Credit Union, so you don’t miss any alerts or messages from us.
  • Go to to check your own credit report. You can do this for free one time a year.
  • If you have paid for services directly from Equifax, you may want to have your credit card blocked and re-issued.
  • You may want to consider a credit monitoring service. Equifax is offering free monitoring service to consumers, whether or not they have been impacted by this breach. Please note that there are many credit monitoring services, and the Credit Union does not endorse any one over another.
  • You may also want to consider placing a security freeze on your credit report. This will NOT guarantee protection from fraud, but it will reduce the likelihood of a fraudster applying for credit in your name. Keep in mind, it will also keep YOU from applying from credit until you unfreeze your report.

9/7/17 Additional comment
It appears that Equifax has incorporated language into the “Terms of Use” when you sign up for the “free” year of credit monitoring that attempts to force you to agree to waive your right to participate in any class action suit over this breach. We recommend that you do not use this service!