How bank marketing can help eliminate card skimming

woman at bank ATM

According to, the Federal Trade Commission has received 1.4 million reports of identity theft so far this year, with the number of cases nearly tripling over the last decade. The go-to attack for bad actors? Card skimming. Just how big a problem has it become? The FBI estimates that e-skimming scams cost cardholders and banks over $1 billion annually.1 Obviously, this is (or at least, should be) of grave concern to community banks and their customers. 

What is skimming? Skimming is a difficult-to-detect way that bad actors can quickly obtain payment card data and personal information from ATMs and checkout scanners used by retailers such as gas/convenience store and grocery providers. Skimming devices can capture and transmit cardholder data in real-time without the cardholder's awareness. 

Skimming gets its name from using credential-stealing software which works via a “skimming” device that is installed onto a card processing payment device. Bad actors can also include dishonest merchants, who swap out authentic handheld point-of-sale (POS) terminals with tampered ones that read and store credit card information. Skimming devices can be cleverly installed to blend in with their surroundings. Examples include fake PIN and contactless payment overlays that are nearly impossible to detect.

Unfortunately, ATM skimming, in particular, is on the rise. This form of skimming takes place at a bank’s – and it could very well be your bank – ATM, and occurs when cyberthieves install a skimming device over the ATM’s card reader. The device pulls and records data from the magnetic strip on the back of the user’s card which can then lead to fraudulent usage.

What it means for your customer

Here at BankMarketingCenter, we recognize the dangers that card skimming presents to banking customers. A skimming attack can lead to a serious data breach for a bank customer, exposing their identity and subjecting their account to unauthorized, fraudulent transactions - and all it takes is one instance of card cloning to empty an entire checking account. Your customer’s hard-earned cash can vanish in a matter of seconds when an unauthorized user goes on a shopping spree with credit card information they’ve stolen. 

And that could be just the beginning of the nightmare. Unfortunately, bad actors don’t stop with simply stealing a debit or credit card number. They can also extrapolate from the transaction additional, critical customer data, such as social security numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, PIN codes, and other information which can then be sold on the black market.

Tell your customers to be vigilant

Vigilance and caution are the most important factors in preventing a card skimming attempt, which can be tough to detect. The best way to identify an attack is to keep an eye on signs of tampering or damage to the transaction device. Wobbly readers and misaligned slots are red flags - swindlers often try to cover their tracks with glue or tape. Card users should run their finger over the reader to ensure it has no sticky residue. Tell your customer that they should 1) carefully inspect the keypad for overlays or buttons that are not easy to push down and 2) to watch for an odd, long wait while their card is “processing.”  What’s the best way to get this message out? Post the new card skimming awareness creative you’ll find on the portal to your social media platforms.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers — developed by bank marketing professionals for bank marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these ads just recently added to our bank marketing campaign portal that you can post to your social media platforms -- or print as flyers or countercards and used in branch -- warning your customers of the dangers of card skimming.

montage of card skimming ads

The Bank Marketing Center web-based platform puts our client partners in complete control of their digital bank marketing production process – and for a fraction of traditional marketing costs. We’ve added video and AI-powered content generation, making our ad customization portal even more efficient, productive, and easy to use. We’re also proud of the fact that we currently work with over 300 financial institutions.

Want to learn more about what we can do for your community bank marketing efforts? You can start by visiting Then, feel free to contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at As always, I welcome your thoughts. What is card skimming?