Don’t Get Skimmed

Scammers will try anything to get their hands on your sensitive account info. This includes ATM skimming, a practice that has been around for a while and evolved over time.

Woman with shopping bags using ATM

Beware of ATM Skimmers: Here’s What to Do if You’re Impacted

ATM skimming is a type of fraud where criminals attach a device to an ATM to steal card information. The device, called a skimmer, is designed to look like a legitimate card reader and can capture data from the magnetic stripe of your card. Once your information is compromised, the criminals can use it to make unauthorized transactions or sell it on the black market.

If you suspect that you’ve been impacted by a skimmer, there are a few steps you should take immediately:

  1. Contact your bank: The first thing you should do is contact your bank or card issuer to report the fraudulent activity. They can work quickly to cancel any compromised cards and issue a replacement to prevent the criminal from using it any further.
  2. Check your account: You should review your account statement for any unusual or unauthorized transactions. Often times, criminals will try and act fast by getting the most out of a stolen card as soon as possible. Look for large transactions relating to technology, appliances, travel, and anything else that might seem out of the ordinary.
  3. File a police report: Most banks would do this for you if it happened on their property, however it is a good idea to report the incident to your local police department. This will help start an investigation and could prevent others from falling victim too.
  4. Protect your identity: If your credit card was skimmed, consider placing a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. This will prevent anyone from opening new accounts in your name.

ATM skimmers have evolved over the years and can appear in many shapes and sizes. It’s important to be vigilant when using ATMs, so here are some tips to protect yourself:

  1. Look for any signs of tampering: Whether on the ATM itself or the card reader specifically, if anything looks damaged or suspicious, don’t use it and report it to the bank immediately. Scammers will often try and attach their own card readers right on top of the ATM’s. If you’re unsure about a piece of equipment on an ATM, try wiggling it with your hand. If it moves or budges, it’s likely a skimmer.
  2. Cover your PIN: There have been cases where scammers have attached small cameras that focus on the PIN pad on ATMs in attempt grab PIN numbers from customers. Using your hand to cover the pad while entering your PIN will prevent anyone or anything from seeing your PIN and using it to access your account.
  3. Stick to ATMs in well-lit areas: Often times, scammers will not try and put skimmers on ATMs inside banks or in high-traffic, well-lit areas because it is harder to get away with it. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but an ATM inside your bank’s lobby is more than likely safer than the third-party machine outside of a gas station.

ATM skimming seems like an easy crime to spot, but people get impacted by these scams every day. By taking the necessary precautions and knowing what to do if you think you’ve been scammed, you can protect yourself and your money from this type of fraud.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.