A New ATM Scam
Using Automated Teller Machines has become commonplace among Americans today. But many people
aren’t aware of an ATM scam that could end up costing them big-time. It’s called ATM Skimming.
Thieves install a device called an ATM skimmer on top of the card reader on a legitimate ATM, which records the
information on debit and credit cards’ magnetic stripes. They also install a tiny pinhole camera somewhere on the ATM
— for example, on a disguised pamphlet holder — which records PINs as they are entered by unsuspecting victims.
ATM Skimming Devices
Most ATM skimmers fit neatly over the top of the card reader and are designed to match the look of the
ATM itself, making them almost undetectable at a quick glance or to an ATM user who is not familiar
Shield Your PIN
Use your other hand to shield your fingers while you type in your PIN. Experts say taking this one simple
step could practically eliminate ATM skimming. This is because if the hidden camera can’t capture your
PIN, the mag stripe data captured by the skimmer is useless to the thief.
Check the ATM
Examine an ATM carefully before inserting your card. While skimmers may be hard for the untrained eye
to spot, they actually become pretty obvious if you’re on the lookout for them. They usually consist of an
extra piece of plastic that sits atop the slot where you insert your ATM card. They’re usually attached to
the ATM using two-sided tape, so if it looks suspicious, jiggle it a little — if it’s loose, it might be a
Avoid Low Traffic Areas
Don’t use ATMs in secluded, low-traffic areas. It takes a few minutes for thieves to install skimmers, so
they usually choose ATMs in more secluded areas with less foot traffic so they’re less likely to be seen.
If possible, try to only use ATMs in high-traffic areas like grocery stores, the mall or outside the bank
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