A new warning has been issued by the Federal Trade Commission to beware of credit-card skimmers. Skimmers are relatively new devices that use a new technique to capture data on ATM and credit cards, ripping off their victims. A skimmer is a small device that affixes to a card reader, most commonly put on ATMs at gas station pumps or self-checkout machines. A typical ATM skimmer is smaller than a deck of cards and fits over an existing card reader – see picture. Look for obvious signs of tampering with an ATM that you are planning to use.
There are several ways to protect your ATM card. They are:
- Use secure ATM machines under video surveillance or inside a bank lobby. They’re less likely to be tampered with.
- Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally look like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
- Don’t use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, fits poorly or is loose. Some thieves place a fake box over the card slot that reads and records account and PIN numbers.
- Inspect the machine for items that were installed over or around the PIN pad of the ATM. Look for an attachment on the ATM that contains a small hole that is pointed in the direction of the PIN pad.
- Lightly tug the area of the card slot. Most skimming devices are attached with double-sided tape for quick removal by the crooks.
- Cover the keypad with your other hand while typing your PIN. This is the best way to ensure that your PIN number is not recorded.
- Check that the backlight is on; if off it is a warning sign that a skimming device could be installed.
- Beware if the chip reader is deeper than normal. If your card goes so deep into a chip reader that you can’t keep a thumb on it, it is a sign there could be a skimmer installed. From: www.patch.com