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5 Tips to Avoid Being Skimmed at ATM

posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 in Security & Fraud Information

Be aware next time you step up to an ATM.

Crooks across the country continue to attach skimmers to ATMs, gas pumps and other places people use debit and credit cards. This sneaky piece of equipment scoops information from your bank card’s magnetic strip and the crooks use the information to clone your card. Once cloned, they can drain your bank account or run up huge bills.

We do not want this to happen to you. So we, at First National Bank, want to inform you on how these skimmers work. Please see information below:

  • Skimmers planted on ATMs are usually undetectable by users (be aware) — the makers of this equipment have become very adept at creating them, often from plastic or plaster, so that they blend right into the ATM’s façade. The specific device used is often a realistic-looking card reader placed over the factory-installed card reader.
  • Customers insert their ATM card into the phony reader, and their account info is swiped and stored on a small attached laptop or cell phone or sent wirelessly to the criminals waiting nearby.
  • Skimming devices are installed for short periods of time — usually just a few hours — so they’re often attached to an ATM by nothing more than double-sided tape. They are then removed by the criminals, who download the stolen account information and encode it onto blank cards. The cards are used to make withdrawals from victims' accounts at other ATMs.  
    ATM skimming will steal money from your bank account

Secondly, we want you to be able to spot these skimming devices not only at our locations, but any ATM or gas station you will use. Here's a few tips on how to avoid being skimmed:

  1. Make this a habit. Inspect ATMs, gas pumps or credit card readers before using them. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.
  2. When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
  3. If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers). 
  4. Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas. They are a popular target of skimmers.
  5. If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

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