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News & Alerts

Be Aware of Card Skimming Devices on ATM Machines

August 27, 2012

We want you to be aware of a type of fraud that is occurring with increasing frequency.  

Criminals are placing "skimming" devices on the card reader of the ATM.  These gadgets are designed to capture, record and remotely transmit your PIN and other information stored on the magnetic stripe of your debit card.

ATM card skimming takes place coast to coast and is approaching a billion-dollar issue worldwide.  In fact, several people in our communities have been victim to card skimming when using ATMs located outside of the area.
So how do you protect yourself against a card skimmer?
  • First, inspect the ATM machine closely for anything that appears out of the ordinary.  Determine if anything looks loose or unevenly attached.  Generally, if you can pull something off the face of the ATM where you insert your card, it is probably an ATM skimming device.
  • Question anything that looks unusual.  If your card gets stuck in the machine or you notice anything odd about the appearance of the machine - such as wires, double sided tape, error messages, or if the machine seems unusually old and run down - don't use it.  Instead, look for another ATM.
  • Try to use an ATM at a bank whenever possible.  Because of increased use of surveillance cameras, bank ATMs are considered safer than free-standing ATMs or those in convenience stores.
  • Get in the habit of always shielding your PIN.  Scammers have a difficult time turning your 16 digit account numbers into cash without the PIN.  Cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.  If you use your debit card at a merchant point-of-sale, select the credit option so you don't have to enter your PIN.
Banks are exploring new technologies, such as internal hardware, that can jam the signal of skimming devices.  Major security companies including ADT are also developing anti-skimming solutions.   But, customers need to be aware of the problem and keep an eye out for devices affixed to the front of ATMs as well as cameras mounted near small mirrors or on brochure holders.
Overall, the best thing you can do is be aware that card skimming is increasing in frequency and take the measures described above to shield yourself from theft.