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Tips on Protecting Yourself from ATM skimming

What is ATM skimming?

ATM skimming is the illegitimate practice of stealing data from the magnetic strip (the black strip) on the back side of an ATM card. With the stolen data, criminals can generate a fake card with the stolen banking information on it and use it to steal money from the victim’s bank account. Fake card readers or number pads are ATM skimmers that are installed in the ATM in order to steal the card’s information.

Below are some quick tips you should keep in mind to protect yourself from ATM skipping:

1. Always check for ATM skimmers (fake parts) before inserting your debit/credit card. While a visual inspection can be helpful, it always best to do a physical inspection by trying to tug, push or pull parts like the card reader, keypad, the cash dispenser, the lining of the screen, etc. ATMs generally do not have parts that are poorly constructed, with loose or oddly fashioned pieces.

2. If there are two ATMs side by side, compare the ATM you are using with the one next to it. If you notice any obvious differences, then do not use it. Report this discrepancy to the bank.

3. Use ATMs located in busy high traffic areas. It is better to avoid using ATMs that are in remote or hidden locations such as those behind buildings, parking lots, and spots that are away from public view as these are the ones usually targeted by criminals.

4. Whenever entering your debit/credit card’s PIN, make sure to cover the keypad with one hand and type with the other. Scammers oftentimes install hidden cameras in to capture the PIN that is being entered by the user. Later on, they can physically take your card from you.

Below is an example of how well hidden an ATM skimmer can be placed:

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