Skimming is a method used by fraudsters to steal or “skim” your personal information off your debit, ATM or credit card during a transaction. Once the card information is captured it is encoded onto a fake card and used to withdraw money from your account or to make purchases.
A small device is usually placed close to or on top of the regular card reader, such as at the ATM or gas pump. In addition, small cameras may be installed to capture the PIN number as you enter it. These are both very well hidden and often blend in with the machine they are placed on. Once installed the fraudster simply waits for an unsuspecting person to use the machine and gathers their personal information.
Helpful tips to spotting a skimmer:
- Appearance of an attachment to the card slot. Pull on it. If it comes off or loosens, do not use the ATM and report it immediately.
- Appearance of an overlay on the keypad, possibly making it difficult to type.
- Unusual instructions on the display screen or a blank screen.
- Signs, especially those posted over the card reader, saying directions have changed or to use a specific machine.
- The flashing area of the card entry slot on an ATM is not visible.
- An unusual appearance to the front of the machine, mirrors, differences in look from nearby machines or extra piece
- Where possible, use ATMs you are most familiar with. Choose well-lit, well-placed ATMs where you feel comfortable.
- Review your account transactions frequently to look for any suspicious charges
- Educate yourself on how to spot a skimmer.
- When you enter your PIN number, cup your hands over the keypad to help block the view of any cameras or individuals.
- Choose the credit instead of the debit option when making purchases, so you do not have to use your PIN.
- Set up balance, transaction and debit card alerts in Personal Online Banking.