Skimmers & Shimmers: What You Should Be Looking For

Skimmers & Shimmers: What You Should Be Looking For

Julie Quinn, Weights & Measures Division Director at MN Department of Commerce, provided an interesting and extremely valuable presentation at the NDPMA Convention this year! We think her tips about how to spot a skimmer and what to do once you found one are worth sharing.

First off – Did you know there are two different kinds to look for?

A Skimmer goes inside the credit card reader and requires training to recognize. Whereas, a shimmer fits over the outside of a credit card reader and is installed easily and quickly anywhere. Both the skimmers & shimmers get the credit card and PIN info and transfer it to the ‘bad guys’; the information is then sold to others to use.


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Who is installing these devices?

  • Organized Crime – they hire people to travel to various states and install them to sell info on the ‘black net’ to be used right away
  • Tech Savvy Individuals- they obtain information from the skimmers and/or shimmers and make fake cards that match their own credentials, then buy gift cards that can’t be traced


Where to Look for Skimmers

  • Card reader board
  • Connection between boards
  • Device main board


Where to Look for Shimmers

  • ATMs
  • Cash registers
  • Car washes
  • Vending machines
  • Fuel dispensers


How to Deter the Use of Fraudulent Cards?

  • Compare the name on the credit card with the POS receipt, not their ID. If the name on the credit card and the receipt don’t match…there’s a good chance it’s fake so DECLINE IT!


How to Deter Skimmer/Shimmer Installation?

  • Upgrade your older models
  • Add or change locks on dispensers
    • Only necessary to lock the compartment which accesses the card reader and key pad info
  • Install security cameras and alarms
  • Create a clear line of sight
  • Use tamper tape
  • Develop and advertise daily inspection program
  • Encourage local leaders’ enforcement to create community program (i.e. SkimStop)


What to do When You Find a Skimmer/Shimmer?

  1. Make sure it really is a skimmer/shimmer
  2. Contact authorities
  3. secure dispenser from further use
  4. Preserve evidence
  5. Be aware than an employee or contractor may be involved
  6. DO NOT take skimmer off without powering down machine first!


Chip Technology = Financial Protection: Having the software but not activating it means the credit card company can pass the liability on to you. Having is activated puts the liability on the credit card companies.

If you have the software but need to activate it, give us a call and we will have one of our factory trained technicians out to get it up and running!

With the Dispenser EMV Liability Shift approaching in October 2017, it’s time to make sure you’re prepared! Speak with one of our experts today 800-654-6329.

The MN Department of Commerce does not endorse any particular companies for providing services. Stations must research and decide on their own providers.