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Counterfeit Fraud is on the Rise7/31/2019

Here’s the Latest on What You Should Know

The first half of 2019 saw an increase in counterfeit card fraud related to skimmers, deep-insert skimmers, and shimmers across the U.S., according to SLFCU Card Fraud Prevention Specialist Eric Mitchell.

“Skimmers, deep-inset skimmers, and shimmers can be attached inside gas pumps, ATMs, or even connected to the payment terminal at your favorite convenience store,” says Eric. “Thus far in 2019, SLFCU has experienced fraud losses primarily in New Mexico ($3,940), California ($1,620), Minnesota ($400), Texas ($500), and Hawaii ($200).”

A thief’s big payday occurs when members do not regularly check their statements and recent transactions through online or mobile banking. They may not realize they’re a fraud victim for weeks or even months.

Though they are not all-inclusive, Eric offers a few simple tips to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Check your account activity every few days in online or mobile banking. Validate your statement transactions monthly.
  • Change your PIN when you return from traveling outside of the U.S.
  • To protect your personal or business debit cards, download the free CardNavSM app at slfcu.org/DebitCard to receive activity alerts, set purchase limits, lock your card any time, and more.
  • To protect your personal or business credit cards, download the Card LockTM app at slfcu.org/CreditCards to set transaction alerts, set controls to limit where your card can be used, lock your card, and more.
  • If you discover unauthorized charges on your debit or credit cards, call SLFCU immediately at 505.293.0500 or 800.947.5328.

Eric urges members to be vigilant of their surroundings when using cards. “If you feel something is suspicious about a machine, use cash – not your card.”


  • Skimmers: Made to mimic traditional payment terminals, these devices steal data when a card is swiped at a machine during a legitimate transaction.
  • Deep-Inset Skimmers: Wafer-thin, semi-flexible, data extraction wands made to be hidden inside the card acceptance slot on a payment terminal’s card reader. 
  • Shimmers: Like a shim, these are thin, tapered pieces of material that sit between the chip reader within the ATM or point-of-sale device and a card’s chip. A shimmer records the chip’s data as it transmits to the reader. Though card chips are not being cloned, collected data can be used to create a magnetic stripe card, then used to make purchases and cash withdrawals.


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