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ATM skimming, is a type of fraud that occurs when an ATM is compromised due to a “skimming” device being installed over the existing card reader of an ATM. Skimming devices are often very hard to spot, as they are designed to look just like the authentic card reader. Once installed on an ATM, the device records the card number and PIN code for every person who uses that ATM while the skimmer is installed. Customers are often completely unaware they’ve been skimmed, as there is no disruption to the functionality of the ATM. In addition, criminals are also known to add similar devices to credit or debit card readers at checkout registers, especially at gas stations, convenience stores or other merchants where customers may be in a hurry and not notice or take the time to report something suspicious.
“Security experts and law enforcement officials warn that card skimming is present in many communities,” said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC’s Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. “With the information that can be skimmed, a thief can go on an online shopping spree or sell that valuable data to other con artists.”
How do thieves retrieve the data they gather? Some return to the scene of the crime to remove their devices, while others can communicate electronically with their hardware using a laptop or mobile phone and wireless connections.
Keep yourself safe by following these 5 simple STEPS
- Set online/mobile banking fraud and debit card use alerts (with Shazam Brella)
- Tug the card reader. Is it loose? (A loose reader could indicate tampering.)
- Examine your surroundings. (Are there people lurking or oddly placed cameras.)
- Protect your PIN. (Cover the Pin Pad with your hand.)
- Scan for security tape seal on the pump. (If it is missing or damaged, report it.)
Additional safety precautions to follow are as follows…
- Use an ATM in a well-lit area.
- Use a pump closest to and facing the store.