With stories of credit card breaches becoming increasingly prevalent in the media, it's obvious that hackers are becoming more adept at stealing customer information. But big breaches like those at Target and Home Depot aren't the only ways criminals are able to obtain payment information. Here are three common traps consumers fall into, and how they can be avoided.

Skimmers

Skimmers are devices, either homemade or black market purchased, that fit over credit card readers at point of sale devices. They are commonly implemented at ATMs or gas station pumps and blend in so that they don't stick out to the naked eye. They allow your immediate transaction to go through, but they record your information and store it, allowing whoever deployed the device to later retrieve it and begin using the newly obtained info. 

Always make sure to check out the device before using it. If it's loose or you see glue or scuff marks around the reader, don't use it. Also, be sure to check the keypad if the device has one, as devices similar to skimmers can be put over them to record any information entered, like your PIN.

Free WiFi

Place like coffee shops with free wireless internet are great places to get work done, just don't do any banking there. If the internet isn't properly secured, or if the hacker is particularly deft, it's possible for someone to pull your banking information up during your online transactions. 

Phishing

Be wary of unsolicited text messages, emails or phone calls from your bank asking for your credit card information. Phishing is when a criminal poses as a respected authority, like a bank employee, to try to get you to reveal your personal information. If you think this might be the case, don't reply directly, but call the number on the back of your credit card and report the attempt to your bank's fraud department. 

If you own your own business and are in need of credit card processing software to better protect your customers' finances, be sure to contact 911 Software today.