I've been reading about these so-called "skimmers" for about a decade now and, so far, I've yet to encounter anything even close to one, but now, law enforcement officials say the skimmers are starting to show up in more and more places. Not getting ripped off by one of these devices is pretty easy and it only takes a second to check for a skimmer.

Basically, the thief or thiefess (if you will) installs a skimmer on an ATM right where you normally scan your car. The thing is, when the skimmer is attached, the bad guys are getting every piece of information they need to drain your account. Authorities say that, while people have had their bank accounts drained, the solution is elementary.

Before you insert your card in the slot, give the area around the slot a pull. Don't worry, you're not going to break the ATM, Superman, but you very well could dislodge the skimmer if there is one of the ATM. Skimmers are pretty loosely attached and it seldom takes any real effort to tell if there is one on the card reader at your local ATM or gas pump.

Another trick to watch out for is oddly placed security cameras. Thieves will set up a phony security camera to get your information as well. If you're doing business at a teller or any other automated card convenience, you might notice a camera that just seems out of place. Chances are, that camera is there to record your card number and pin numbers.

Next time you use your card, give the ATM a good once over before you conduct your business. A few seconds of being cautious could save you a ton of money. .