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Beware of ATM Skimming

In April 2017, FICO reported that its fraud-tracking service recorded a 546 percent increase in ATM skimming attacks from 2014 to 2015, and it appears the problem is getting worse. ATM skimming can happen during a simple withdrawal from your bank account.

Imagine using your debit card at a local ATM only to find out days later that an ATM skimmer had been placed on that same machine. Now, you need to monitor your accounts closely and dispute any fraudulent charge. To help avoid becoming a victim of ATM skimming, learn how details can be taken at these machines.

Here’s how it works:

STEP 1: Cybercriminals use hidden skimming electronics like a card stripe reader or mini camera attached to a machine such as an ATM, gas pump or other card insertion device. Often, these devices blend in and do not look out of place.

STEP 2: With skimming devices, criminals attempt to watch you enter your personal identification number (PIN) on the keypad, and steal personal card data stored on the magnetic stripe of your card.

STEP 3: After a fraudster acquires your card data and PIN, he or she then creates fake cards that can be used to withdraw funds from other ATMs. And it may not stop there.

STEP 4: Cybercriminals could also be in the market to sell your stolen data to other fraudsters around the world. In many instances, you won’t know your information has been stolen until you get a bank statement or call from the fraud department at your bank or credit card issuer. By then your account or identity may have already been compromised.

What can you do?

Security is in your hands – Ensure you use one hand to shield the keypad while your other hand enters your PIN at the ATM, and don’t recite your PIN in public areas or to others.

Be aware of your surroundings – Many locations with ATMs that are not associated with a financial institution (e.g. convenience stores, theme parks, etc.) do not have cameras watching the machine. It’s very important that you know who is around you when you use these machines by using the mirrors available or looking around to see who might be shoulder surfing your information.

If something looks out of place, it probably is – Banks and the locations that house the bank’s ATMs will never be upset if you alert them that something might be wrong with their ATM. Banks check their onsite ATMs regularly, and if you report a potential problem, the team will investigate it.

Remember if you see something, say something.

For more information on how to avoid being a victim of skimming, visit: