With ATM skimming identity theft on the rise, we wanted to give you more information on how it’s done and what you can do to help prevent it. ATM skimming is when a device is used by identity thieves to steal your ATM card number and PIN. The skimmer is placed in plain sight under the card slot of the ATM. When a person swipes their card, all of their information is copied to a battery powered microchip placed by the thieves. They can then use this information to withdraw money from your account. The following are a things to be on the lookout for so you can identify ATM skimmers.
Avoid ATMs that are outside of a bank
While ATM skimmers can be placed on just about any ATM, they are usually placed on ATMs in liquor stores, random street corners or out of the way places where identity thieves probably won’t be caught or the device easily discovered. It is probably good practice to avoid these types of ATMs in general, except when you desperately need cash. When this is the case, inspect the ATM very carefully and make sure it is well lit and doesn’t have anything on it that looks like it was tampered with.
Cover the PIN pad
While some advanced skimmers will record the buttons you push on the pad through a fake keypad, others will simply do it through a small pinhole camera that have installed in the device itself. By covering the keypad when you type in your PIN, you can effectively block anyone from knowing your code. It will also keep identity thieves who are lurking nearby from seeing what you typed in and then using it with the information copied from your card.
Westport Federal Credit Union regularly checks our ATMs for any modifications to our terminals. Since our Fall River Branch ATM is outside, it is specially equipped with an anti-skimming device that will disable the ATM should an electronic device be attached to it.