Helpful Tips to Protect Yourself from ATM Skimming

If you find anything unusual at any ATM or other places like gas pumps where credit and debit cards are accepted, please report your observation to the financial institution during business hours or contact the local police department.

"Skimming", where criminals steal your PIN and account number using devices and cameras that capture personal information is increasing dramatically and is becoming harder to detect. The first part is the skimmer itself, a card reader placed over a real card reader slot. When a card is slid into an ATM (or swiped at a gas pump), it is sliding through the counterfeit reader, “a skimmer,” which scans and stores all the information on the magnetic strip. However, to gain full access to the accounts, the thieves still need the PIN. Cameras hidden on or near the ATMs or gas pumps are positioned to get a clear view of the keypad and record all the PIN information. Some ATM skimming schemes employ fake keypads instead of cameras to obtain PINs.

Here are three tips to help you protect your account when using an ATM:

1. Hide Your Password with Your Hand
Always cover your password with your hand. Criminals disguise hidden cameras to try and obtain your password. By protecting it with your hand, ATM thieves can't access your PIN.

2. Observe the ATM
Take a quick look at the ATM machine. Does anything look a bit out-of-place? If the card reader moves around when you try to wiggle it with your hand, a “skimmer” may be laid over it. A genuine card reader should not move around and will be securely attached as part of the ATM.

Examine the keypad and check for cameras. If the keypad looks a bit too thick or appears to look different from how it normally appears, something may be wrong. Check for any suspicious looking cameras, that may be placed around the ATM above the screen, around the key pad, or in a brochure rack.

3. Check Your Account Balances and Transactions Frequently
Regularly check your savings, checking, and credit card accounts online. If you notice any suspicious activity, contact your financial institution immediately.

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