In financial terms, the word “skimming” refers to the theft of debit card or credit card data by an unauthorized third party with the aim of stealing money.

Debit card data skimmed at ATMs is particularly sought-after.

In an ATM skimming, a cardholder’s PIN number is recorded. This may be accomplished using a miniature camera hidden on the ATM itself, or using a PIN recording device attached to the ATMs keyboard. A camera may also be used to capture credit card information.

Additionally, the information stored on the magnetic stripe of a credit card or debit card may also be copied. This can be done using a card-reading device hidden in a terminal’s card slot.

Newer smart cards are not prone to conventional magnetic-stripe skimming methods.

Skimming attacks often go unnoticed because the card itself is not stolen.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.