ATM skimming is when fraudsters use hidden electronics to steal personal information stored on a card, and record the owner’s PIN number to access the member’s account.
How Does ATM Skimming Happen?
A “skimmer” is a small device that goes over the normal card reading slot of an ATM and reads your card’s magnetic strip. The skimmer is used to capture your ATM card number and is disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. At the same time, a wireless camera is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries. Often, the scam artists will sit in a nearby car receiving the information wirelessly transmitted from the skimmer. They are able to copy the information stored on the magnetic strip of the ATM cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw funds from an account in a very short time. Skimmers can also be handheld devices that a dishonest merchant can keep in his pocket. For example, while charging your card while you’re out at dinner, a scam artist can run your card through a skimmer as well.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Use secure ATMs under video surveillance, inside a financial institution, or in a high-traffic area.
Most devices have pin pad enclosures, but some do not. Make sure to cover the keyboard as you enter your pin, do not share it with anyone and do not use an ATM with a card reader that appears to be altered.
If something looks suspicious, find another ATM. Skimming devices will stick out a little bit from an ATM.
Call the financial institution immediately if a machine keeps your card and report it.
If you believe a skimmer has been added to an ATM, please contact the financial institution that owns the ATM.
Continuously check your account balances – accessible in branch or online—and contact us immediately if you notice any suspicious activity.
Read more about how to detect skimming here.