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Keep Yourself Safe from Skimmers with These 5 Simple Steps

You may have heard in the news that automated teller machines (ATMs) are being targeted by criminals who secretly attach high-tech devices to the machines in order to record consumers’ keystrokes and steal or, as it is sometimes called, “skim” personal identification numbers (PINs) along with credit or debit card account numbers. In addition, criminals are 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.”

And 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

  1. Set online and mobile banking fraud alerts (with Shazam Bolt$)
  2. Tug the card reader. Is it loose? (A loose reader could indicate tampering.)
  3. Examine your surroundings. (Are there people lurking or oddly placed cameras.)
  4. Protect your PIN. (Cover the Pin Pad with your hand.)
  5. Scan for security tape seal on the pump. (If it is missing or damaged, report it.)

Additional safety precautions to follow are…

  • Use an ATM in a well-lit area.
  • Use a pump closest to and facing the store.
  • If something looks suspicious, find a different ATM/Pump and report it.