Stealing debit card information using "skimmers" at gas pumps and ATMs is an old problem. But thieves are becoming more sophisticated at hiding the devices and getting around some of the fixes merchants have put in their way. Among the newest tools are deep-insert skimmers, which disappear into the payment device card slot and are completely hidden from the consumer. Skimmers—electronic devices that thieves insert into ATMs and card readers—can record data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of your debit card. Thieves often use them along with tiny cameras or other devices to capture cardholders' personal identification numbers when they punch them in on a keypad. How to Protect Your Cards Consumers most at risk for debit card theft are those who use nonbank ATMs, such as the ones in convenience stores, and those who make purchases at out-of-the-way merchants, such as remote gas stations. If data is stolen from your card, you could find that your debit card was used to make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals from your bank account. The faster you act, the better. If you delay in notifying the bank, you could be responsible for up to the whole amount. Because it can often be impossible to detect whether a skimmer has been inserted into the card reader you may be using, consider taking these precautions: Don’t use remote ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. ATMs that are in low-trafficked, poorly lit areas are vulnerable to being tampered with by thieves. So are gas pumps that accept credit cards at stations far from major highways. The safest ATMs, are the vestibule and drive-up machines at your bank. But skimmers have been found even in some of those. Look for signs of tampering. Before using an ATM or point-of-sale terminal, try wiggling the keypad or card slot. If anything seems loose, don’t use the device. Also look for keypads that appear raised or have an unusual color. A thief could have placed an overlay on the keypad to record the personal identification number you punch in. Some gas pumps have security tape that forms a seal around the card reader. If the seal is broken, that could be a sign that the reader has been compromised. Protect your PIN. Place your hand over the keypad when entering your personal identification number in case thieves have installed a pinhole camera to record it. Use a chip card. Credit and debit cards with chips offer better protection than those only with magnetic stripes. But that’s only the case if you insert just the chip portion of your card into a reader. If you need to insert your entire card, a skimmer may steal the data from the magnetic stripe. Check your transactions. Carefully examine your bank account activity online to see whether funds have been withdrawn that you didn't authorize. You can also set up an alert so that you're notified when funds are withdrawn.