Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are convenient way to access your funds using your debit card. That convenience also appeals to crooks. For that reason, it’s important to learn how to access your funds safely and protect them from being accessible by others.
Every year, thieves steal millions of dollars from consumers by “skimming” their personal account information. Skimming involves a thief installing a magnetic card reader, or skimmer, over the actual card reader at an ATM or gas pump. When you swipe your card, the skimming device steals the information from the magnetic strip and transmits it to a remote computer.
Some skimming devices have cameras and overlay touchpads to capture your PIN. Other devices, called “shimmers,” are as thin as paper and can be inserted into the card slot to clone the magnetic strip. Not surprisingly, the technology keeps evolving and it’s difficult for law enforcement to stay ahead of it.
To avoid becoming a victim of ATM theft, follow these tips:
- Check out the environment as you approach the ATM and be prepared make your transaction as soon as you get to it. If anyone is loitering around a machine, go to another one or return later. If someone takes interest in your transaction, leave the area and report suspicious behavior to the police.
- Use the same ATM as often as possible. Memorize how it looks, so you will know if anything about it looks fishy. If anything is cracked, loose, or taped, don’t use it.
- Shield the screen and keypad with your body to prevent others from seeing and copying your personal identification number (called “shoulder surfing”).
- Don’t count the cash while at the machine. Secure the cash before leaving the ATM and wait until you are in your car or another secure place before counting your money.
- When using a drive-through ATM, keep all doors locked and other windows up.
- Avoid ATMs in popular tourist locations, as they’re common targets. When possible, use indoor ATMs, which are harder for thieves to tamper with.
Check your account often. If you notice unusual activity, contact us at GNO FCU immediately.