Beware of Credit-Card Skimmers

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:

  1. Use secure ATM machines under video surveillance or inside a bank lobby. They’re less likely to be tampered with.
  2. Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally look like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lightly tug the area of the card slot. Most skimming devices are attached with double-sided tape for quick removal by the crooks.
  6. 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.
  7. Check that the backlight is on; if off it is a warning sign that a skimming device could be installed.
  8. 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:

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