Council on Aging Provides 6 Tips on Credit Card Skimming Prevention

All year long, the Council on Aging (COA) of Middle Tennessee serves older adults, caregivers, and communities by addressing unmet needs through information, advocacy and education.

Known for its collaborative work with other agencies on key issues including transportation, scam and elder abuse prevention, caregiver support and advocacy for affordable housing, COA identifies needs and creates solutions.

May is Older Americans Month and in observance, COA offers a month of heightened awareness and the opportunity to highlight their many initiatives. About the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee.

For the month of May, they are highlighting ways to protect yourself from credit card skimming with tips provided by Cyber Guy and ABC News.

Debit/credit card skimming is on the rise because it is easy for scammers. It is difficult to detect because the criminals place a skimming device over existing card reader slots. Once, you slide your card, the device captures your account information. Some also have a tiny camera to see your PIN as you enter it. Once they obtain your card information, it only costs scammers a small amount to order a card online that is linked to your account.

U.S. Secret Service estimates that identity theft scammers steal billions of dollars each year through skimming. Skimmers can be found anywhere; ATM’s, gas pumps, even inside stores. Here are some suggestions from experts:

  • If an ATM machine doesn’t look right to you, you can literally tug on the card slot to see if it’s loose. Crooks often install their skimming devices right over the real one, and many consumers have had them come off right in their hands.
  • Cover your hand while entering your PIN, so that if criminals have installed a surveillance camera, they will not be able to see your secret code.
  • Experts suggest, “re-pinning”; which is changing your PIN; your credit and debit cards every six months.
  • When it’s time for a new credit or debit card, you can ask for a fresh card number. This will stop the cycle of theft if your old card has already been compromised.
  • Thieves often install skimmers inside gas pump credit card slots. To thwart them, pay inside or pay cash.
  • Finally, consider using a credit card rather than a debit card, so that if crooks DO access your account, they are stealing the bank’s money not your own money. That way your own funds won’t be compromised while the bank investigates.

The Council on Aging (COA) of Middle Tennessee addresses the unmet needs of the area’s older adults, caregivers and communities through information, advocacy and education. Founded in 1985 upon the recommendation of a mayoral task force, COA is an independent, board directed 501(c) 3 nonprofit known for its collaborative work with other agencies, businesses, older adults and family members to create cooperative solutions for the aging population. Outreach includes caregiving, elder abuse & scam prevention, housing, legal concerns, transportation and the Directory of Services. COA also hosts events throughout the year such as the Sage Awards. Learn more at