How to spot and stop ATM skimming: When people talk about financial fraud, they may think that most scams happen online because it is easier to trick someone who can’t see you.
But stealing at an ATM is not the same. This kind of scam happens when bad people put a device on ATMs to steal private information from debit and credit cards. The device is called an ATM card skimmer, and thieves make sure that it looks very much like the parts of a real ATM so that bank customers will use it.
Some of their crimes, like skimming ATMs, are successful, which is sad. According to a study from the European Association for Secure Transactions, ATM skimming cost European ATMs €167 million in loses in 2022.
How ATM skimming occurs
Let’s look at some of the most common ways that thieves get information from bank cards. If we know this, we’ll be better able to spot these kinds of cons.
But before we go any further, it’s important to know that ATM skimming usually happens when someone uses a card with a magnetic strip. You can see that this magnetic stripe holds and stays the same information that is needed to make banking deals.
On the other hand, cards with EMV chips have a safe number that changes with each transaction. Because of this, the information is harder to copy. So, EMV chip cards are better than magnetic strip cards.
Most of the time, crooks use card-skimming devices to steal information from bank cards:
Picking up cards: When a bank card is put into the ATM, this machine will read the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. Thieves will be able to get information and make fake cards to steal money. To avoid this, people should carefully check the ATM card slot. You shouldn’t use this ATM if something doesn’t look right.
Covering up the buttons: Basically, it’s a fake computer that is put over the real one on an ATM. This kind of device is used to get the PIN numbers from every bank card that goes through an ATM.
A hidden camera: It is a small camera that is generally near the buttons of an ATM. A hidden camera is meant to record the PIN codes that people put into their bank cards as they do it. There will be a small black dot next to the computer if an ATM has a camera.
ATM skimmers often try to use all of these tools at the same time to steal the PIN code and make a copy of a bank card.
Scammers make fake cards by writing the stolen card information and PINs on blank cards with magnetic stripes. Then, these cards can be used without permission to buy things and get cash.
How to avoid ATM skimming
Here are a few things you can watch out for or do to stop your ATM from being skimmed.
Check the spot for cards and the keyboard. Skimming devices are often added on top of the card reader or PIN pad that was already there. Look for parts that don’t fit right, seem loose, or are too big. You can also touch the keyboard to make sure it’s attached well.
Pick places that are safe: ATMs that are in well-lit, busy places can give you a sense of security. Criminals usually go for machines that are out of the way or dark, which makes them easier to skim. Even safer are ATMs inside banks or other well-known companies.
When entering the PIN, you need to cover the screen. You might find yourself in a situation where there are no safe ways to get cash. When entering your Personal Identification Number, cover the keyboard with your hand or body. This easy step can stop people who are watching you or have secret cameras from getting your PIN.
Remember that bad people usually can’t do much with your card information if they don’t also have your PIN.
Check your bank statements often: Check your bank records often to see if there have been any unauthorized activities. If you see something strange, you should call your bank right away. You can save time by setting up an SMS alert. This is the best way to do it.
Early discovery can limit the amount of money that could be lost due to debit card stealing and stop other scams from happening.
Choose payment ways that don’t require touching: Choose cashless ways to pay, like mobile wallets or smart cards, whenever you can. Fraudsters will have a hard time getting your payment information because these ways use protected technology.
Report ATMs that seem odd: If you find an ATM that looks shady or might have skimming devices, it would be nice if you didn’t just stay away from it but also told the bank or the police. Your alertness could help keep other people from having their ATM cards skimmed.