Card skimming is the act of stealing valuable credit or debit card information by using an illegal card reader called a skimming device at ATM machines, gas pumps and other machines. If you swipe or insert a card into a skimming device, important information is stolen from the magnetic strip which allows thieves to illegally access your account and make unauthorized charges. Knowing how to recognize card skimming devices and understanding your liability for fraudulent charges under the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) can help you avoid being responsible for illegal, fake charges.
What does a card skimmer look like?
Card skimming devices steal information from the magnetic strip and fit over the real card readers. They are often thinner than a deck of cards. Typically, if the insert arrows below the card reader are really close to where you insert your card, that is a sign there could be a card skimming device installed on top of the real card reader. It is important to check to see if any part of the card reader is detachable or loose. A real card reader does not have loose or detachable parts.
Watch out for hidden cameras
Thieves who use card skimmers are also known to steal pin numbers by placing hidden cameras near the keypad. A camera can be a sign that there is a skimming device also illegally placed over the card reader. You can help protect your pin number by checking the keypad area for a hidden camera. If you find a hidden camera you should immediately avoid using that specific machine and report it to the police. If there is a hidden camera and a card skimming device, then the thief has to return to the machine to collect the stolen data. Card skimming devices are not known to wirelessly transmit data back to the thief.
Limitation of Liability for Misuse and Fraudulent Charges
To reduce skimming the United States started to transition to EMV chip cards. But, during the transition period, debit and credit cards still have a magnetic strip on the back storing valuable information that can be stolen. The TILA protects credit cards and states that credit card holders could be liable for up to $50 max of a fraudulent charge if reported to the credit card company in a timely manner. The EFTA protects consumers whose debit card information is stolen and used for fake charges. Under the EFTA a consumer may be held liable for up to $500 max if the fraudulent charge is reported to the bank within a timely manner. As a consumer, you should have been informed about how to report fake charges to your bank or card company when you signed up for a credit or debit card.
If you are being denied your right to report a fraudulent charge, your TILA rights and EFTA rights may be violated. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates have experience handling lawsuits involving the TILA and the EFTA and may be able to help you. Contact us today at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance or send us a message online by clicking here. You can also click here to learn more about our free 1-hour presentations if you would like to have a guest speaker form our law firm visit you and present related information to a group of people for you.