Thieves who steal money from people by skimming their ATM card take in millions of dollars each year and their tactics are becoming more sophisticated all the time. They do this by setting up ATM machines to read account and PIN numbers and then hack into customer accounts to drain them of funds. This involves installing a small device on an ATM machine that electronically reads account numbers via the debit card’s magnetic strip. Some other methods that thieves may use to skim customers using an ATM include:
- Placing a tiny camera on the ATM to record people’s keystrokes and take pictures of their debit cards.
- Placing a thin duplicate keypad over the original keypad.
- Attaching a false front to the ATM machine. When a customer inserts his or her card, the machine comes back and says out of service even though it has already read and recorded the card information.
Anyone who uses an ATM machine can become a victim of this sophisticated form of fraud. Below are several tips for how you can prevent this from happening to you.
Look Closely Before Completing Your Transaction
ATM thieves often look for machines placed outside in poorly lit areas to target. Before you use any ATM, observe your surroundings to see if anyone seems to be loitering in the background. It is also a good idea to study the device’s card reader and even shake or tug it if you feel suspicious that a thief has tampered with it. Typically, the only thing holding a keypad overlay in place is double-sided tape or glue. You should also check the machine carefully for possible hidden cameras. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, notify the financial institution or call the police.
Cover ATM Keys While Using Them
The purpose of placing a tiny pinhole camera is to capture a customer’s PIN as he or she enters it. To prevent this, place something over the keypad and then slip your hand underneath it to enter your numbers. It might look strange to others but it can prevent you from becoming the victim of identity theft.
Check Your Banking Transactions Every Day
Most banks provide online access to their customers to view their account activity. Get into the habit of checking yours every morning to make sure that you recognize every transaction. Notify your bank immediately if you know that a cash withdrawal or debit card transaction is not yours. The bank will deactivate your debit card and temporarily freeze your account while it investigates the fraud. If you check your banking information rarely or never, the person who has access to it could have several days to spend your money.
Be Vigilant When Traveling
Areas known to be tourist destinations are especially attractive for would-be fraudsters. Be sure to put a travel alert on your card before you leave and to only use ATMs located inside of a bank or convenience store.
TransNational ATM cares about keeping consumers safe. Please contact us if you would like additional tips to avoid ATM fraud.