Android Security

Avoid Falling Victim to Card Skimmers With This Android App

Ben Stegner 07-11-2017

Most of us use debit or credit cards to pay at all kinds of locations without much thought. But these cards, especially at high-traffic locations like ATMs and fuel pumps, pose a special risk. Hopefully you know to look for the danger signs of a compromised ATM 3 Danger Signs to Look for Each Time You Use an ATM Taking a few moments before popping your card into the ATM slot to withdraw money could be the difference between spotting it has been tampered with, and becoming penniless. But what should you look for? Read More  (like a fake number pad).


Recently, a new type of device has become popular for fraudsters to install on card readers at gas stations. These can steal your card info without you even noticing, and transmit the stolen details via Bluetooth.

If you want an extra measure of security against these attacks, you should install the free Android app Skimmer Scanner [No Longer Available].

Open up this simple app, make sure you have Bluetooth enabled, and tap Scan. Your phone will then search for nearby Bluetooth devices commonly used to skim cards and alert you if there’s a compromised scanner nearby. It will generate a list of nearby Bluetooth devices, including those that are harmless like your car system and your smartwatch. When it’s done scanning, you’ll see if it detected any scam devices.

Avoid Falling Victim to Card Skimmers With This Android App Android Skimmer Scanner

Of course, this isn’t foolproof. Just because it doesn’t find a device doesn’t mean that the card reader is safe. Also, if you find a device, remember that you may accidentally authenticate your device’s Bluetooth to it, which could identify your device to the criminals using it. Don’t try to remove any skimmers yourself — let the station employees know and they can take the appropriate action.


In all, this is a great app to keep around. Running a quick scan before you pump gas only takes a moment, and could save you from the annoyance of having your card stolen How to Not Get Your Credit Card Hacked Credit card fraud is as common as ever, and scammers are getting smarter all the time. Here are the things you need to do to keep your cards safe. Read More . Just don’t let your guard down because you have the app in your corner.

If this all seems too worrisome, remember that using cash is still a great and safe option Mobile Payments Are Coming -- Here's Why I'll Still Use Cash Mobile payments are all the rage with Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay all making a splash. But are they worth it? Read More .

Have you ever fallen victim to a card skimmer? What other methods do you know to detect fraud like this? Tell us your tips down in the comments!

Related topics: Credit Card, Online Security, Scams.

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  1. dragonmouth
    November 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    "Of course, this isn’t foolproof. "
    What happens if your scanner finds a whole bunch of devices? You're back to square one - not knowing/not being sure that your card is safe.

    "Don’t try to remove any skimmers yourself — let the station employees know"
    Better course of action is to let law enforcement know. Station employees may be the ones who installed the skimmers.