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Five Tips for Avoiding ATM Skimming

Posted: July 2, 2020

Inspect ATMs

  • Pull on the card reader first to see if it is loose.
  • The card reader should not look like it has had any “repairs”.
    • Look for new scratches, glue marks, flashing lights, or visible wires.
  • Check the keypad for loose, discolored, or spongy keys.
  • Look for signs of an out of place box that could be a small wireless camera.
    • Possibly above or to the side of the screen or touchpad.
    • It could be metal, plastic, or even look like it is holding brochures.
  • Using the same ATMs on a regular basis will make it easier to notice changes.
  • If the ATM looks suspicious, notify staff immediately.
  • If there is more than one ATM, compare them with each other to look for differences.
  • The same idea applies to gas pumps – compare them with each other.

Use ATMs in high traffic areas

  • In a credit union or bank lobby located near the teller line.
  • At a gas station near the cashier.
  • An ATM visible from the drive-up at a financial institution.
  • The same idea applies to gas pumps – use those in a high traffic, monitored area.

Protect your PIN number

  • Shield the pin pad as you enter your PIN number.
    • From hidden cameras or nearby onlookers.
  • Change your PIN on a regular basis especially after traveling to foreign countries.
  • Avoid using numbers like your birthday, anniversary, spouse or child’s birthday, etc.

Be Cautious of Strangers

  • A possible innocent bystander waiting in line just as you finish your transaction.
  • Someone willing to help when your card just happens to get jammed.

Unusual Account Activity

  • Monitor your account on a frequent basis.
  • Contact your financial institution immediately if your account has suspicious activity.
  • Set up text alerts with your financial to monitor your account.
  • Remember that regulations favor the card holder and if the fraud is reported in 60 days it will be covered by your financial institution.

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