Skimming Protection Tips
Keeping Yourself Protected From Skimming
Thieves are getting creative when it comes to stealing your money. One increasingly popular method is hijacking ATM machines, gas pumps, restaurant/bar card readers, and department store card readers by illegally attaching an electronic device known as a skimmer to the card slots. The skimmers are not obviously noticeable and they still allow the machine to operate regularly. When you insert your card, the skimmer reads your card information. When you enter your PIN, thieves capture your pin with a hidden camera, a keyboard overlay that records your strokes, or even by peering over your shoulder. Thieves transfer the information on your card to a blank magnetic card and can use it at ATMs, in stores, or to shop online. Skimmers can also be hand-held and used by anyone you hand over your card to for payment. This can include a waiter at a restaurant or a gas station attendant.
The good news is you can protect yourself from being a victim of ATM skimming.
Although it can be challenging to detect a skimmer on an ATM, there are several actions you can take to keep your checking and savings accounts safe:
- Be alert and avoid distractions like talking on your cell phone while using an ATM machine.
- Avoid using ATMs in isolated locations.
- Try using the same ATM for all your transactions. You are more likely to notice if the machine has been tampered with if you are familiar with it.
- Inspect the ATM before using it. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or if there is residue from adhesive tape around the immediate area where the card is inserted.
- Before using the ATM, look around and see if someone is standing too close.
- When entering your PIN, shield the keypad with your other hand to prevent a hidden camera from recording your number.
- Be cautious of a helpful stranger who appears when the machine doesn’t return your card and suggests you enter your PIN even though the machine did not prompt you.
- If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.