Saturday, November 11, 2017

Here's How To Spot An ATM Skimmer Before It Steals Your Money

When we use an ATM, the process tends to be pretty automatic. You enter your card, your PIN number, grab your cash, card and off you go. As long as everything works and there's nobody suspicious lurking around while you do it, it doesn't require much more thought.

Unfortunately, that's what ATM fraudsters want you to think.

The truth is, criminals are getting much more clever at stealing bank information using ATMs. Once upon a time, all they could do was look over your shoulder and pilfer your card when you weren't looking, but now they can turn the ATM itself against you. They do this by using a device called a skimmer that records data off your card and lies dormant until they return to pick it up.

And it can happen to any ATM. While it's true that banks tend to film their machines for this reason, some daring thieves try it anyway, especially during the weekends.

Whether this has already happened to you or not, you don't have to let these people get your bank info in their clutches. There is something you can do to protect yourself from this menace. But first, you'll need a look at what you're dealing with.

Don't forget to SHARE and help your friends stop this theft before it starts.

This is a skimmer.

They're usually made to look like the card reader and can be installed over or even inside of the real one. They collect data by reading the magnetic strip on your card.

And just because your card has a chip doesn't mean it's always safe.

It's a good idea to use the chip when you have the option since it's harder to hack. Still, not everything uses the chip so you can find yourself still needing the classic, vulnerable strip to use an ATM.

However, the skimmer won't do much without your PIN number.

So thieves will also put a tiny hidden camera either near the top, by the reader, above the keypad, or in the brochure holder next to the machine to film you entering it.

And some tech-savvy criminals don't even need the camera.

Some can install a fake keypad that reads your keystrokes while you enter your PIN number. If an ATM keypad feels unusually thick, don't use it.

How do you spot a skimmer?

First, look for any suspicious materials or colors on your ATM. You may notice this one's skimmer is right on top of the arrows where there should be a little more space.

It also helps to use a space with more than one ATM, like a bank. This way you can compare them to see if anything's different. If something doesn't look right, report the ATMs to the bank.

It also doesn't hurt to give the machine a little shake.

ATMs are built solid, so if you hear any loose parts moving when you do this, there's probably a skimmer attached. Also, wiggling your card while you enter it can help foil the device without screwing up your transaction.

And always cover the keypad when you enter your PIN number.

After all, if the camera can't see it, the skimmer can't do much with your card.

If the skimmer still wins there's a good chance you can recover your money.

If you report the fraud within 60 days, it's against the law for banks to hold you responsible for the incident. Most banks will have their own zero liability policies and will replace your stolen money.

Be sure to SHARE this and do your part to bust those skimmers.

Main image via Gizmodo | Lockheed Martin

Collage image via PCMag


Author: verified_user