What is Skimming?
Skimming is a method used by thieves to capture data from the magnetic strip on the back of the ATM/Debit Card. Sometimes thieves will install a small, almost unnoticeable "skimmer" to the machine that can read the magnetic strip on a card. The device can also be rigged to "capture" your card, holding onto it instead of just reading it. Other times, workers in retail establishments may utilize a hand held skimmer.
Where does skimming occur?
Skimming can occur at gas pumps, ATM's, retail outlets, etc. The skimming devices are very small and when used on an outside source, like an ATM or a gas pump, are normally only attached for a few hours.
How to protect yourself?
- Raise your awareness when you are using your card
- Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it. Look for any devices on the face of it where you slide your card through.
- If anything looks suspicious like a change in the appearance of the PIN pad, something inserted in the magnetic strip reader, don't use it and advise us right away.
- Notify your financial institution of any ATM that is not working correctly or acting strange.
- Make sure your card stays in sight if at all possible. If you are in a retail store, and they need to go to another counter to run the card, follow them.
- Review your receipts and check them carefully against your statements
Additional safeguarding tips for using the ATM
- Always protect your PIN.
- Don't write the number down
- Cover the keypad while you enter the number
- Don't give the number to anyone
- Know where the security cameras are located. The cameras should not be positioned to record the keypad
- Be wary of any offers of "help" with your ATM transaction
- Be suspicious of a machine that has signage indicating you should use a specific machine
- Alert your Financial Institution immediately to any suspicious activity around an ATM. This could include anyone who offers to assist you, tries to look over your shoulder, or is taking pictures in the area.
- Be on the lookout for fraudulent withdrawals on your monthly statement
- Conduct ATM transactions during the day if possible. Most ATM crime occurs in the evening.
- Don't hesitate to use a different ATM if you feel uncomfortable about the instructions or if something appears out of the ordinary.