ATM’s are a great way to withdraw money from your bank account, without having to actually go into a bank. You can find ATM’s in a lot locations, not just next to your bank. The ease of taking out money from your account doesn’t come without some hardships. Skimming scams happen everyday all around the world, so it is important to understand how they work and the best practices to avoid them.
What exactly is a skimming scam? ATM skimmers will hook up devices that look just like regular ATM card readers over top of the existing card reader that are already in place. These readers won’t mess up your transaction with the ATM, but they will steal your information. There are mini computer systems within the fake card readers that will swipe your card information as you are completing the transaction. Many times card skimmers will also install small cameras at various locations around the ATM so that they can see you input your PIN, giving them full access to your account.
What exactly should you look for when you are using an ATM to see if there is a skimming scam happening? First, take a look at the card reader itself to see if anything is off. Many times the scam card reader won’t fit perfectly into place on the existing one, so look for marks of distress on the metal or plastic around the card reader. Another helpful tip is to look at the arrows that guide you to where you should insert your card. The skimming reader will be bigger than the existing reader so they arrows will be abnormally closer to the insert slot than normal.
Always check for tampering before you insert your card into the card reader. If you ever feel that something may be out of norm, use another ATM, it may be an inconvenience right now, but it won’t be as big of an inconvenience when your information is stolen.
After checking for tampering, and giving the ATM the okay, make sure you are covering your hand while you are putting your PIN in. If you happened to miss the scam, the least you can do is protect yourself from having your PIN stolen, which will make it harder for the scammer to get into your account.
Lastly, always use familiar ATM’s and check your bank account frequently. If you ever notice something off with your account, contact your bank and have the issue resolved. You won’t be penalized if your information was stolen, so it is best to stay on top of the matter.
Knowing the signs of an ATM scam can help you protect yourself from identity theft and at the very least protect you from having money stolen from your account.
Card companies and banks are working to have these problems resolved by creating methods that make it harder for your information to be stolen. Even with these advancements, always be aware that it could still happen.