Fraudsters are creative, no doubt, and this time they’re taking their innovative scams offline and attaching devices to ATMs and gas station pumps that steal your credit or debit card information.
You’re smart. I mean really smart. Tempting as it may be, you know that a prince from Nigeria emailing you to offer you an inheritance worth millions isn’t really a prince, and that you shouldn’t give out your bank account information to receive this so-called “inheritance.”
Fraudsters are creative, no doubt, and this time they’re taking their innovative scams offline and attaching devices to ATMs and gas station pumps that steal your credit or debit card information. Learn how to recognize skimming devices and ways to keep your information safe.
How does ATM skimming work?
Skimming devices are typically attached to ATMs or gas station pumps and involve two parts:
- A “skimmer” made of plastic or plaster that fits right over the original machine’s card reader. The skimmer collects your information by reading the magnetic strip on your card when you insert it.
- A hidden pinhole camera or keypad overlay used to record your Personal Identification Number (PIN) as you type it in.
The thief typically returns for the skimming device and downloads the illegally captured information, though sometimes it is accessed wirelessly from a nearby location.
Once fraudsters have your information, they make fake debit cards and withdraw cash from your account using an ATM, or make purchases at stores using the fake debit card. Follow these tips to keep skimmers from stealing your account information.
Tip 1: Give the ATM a once-over.
Check the ATM for uneven or crooked pieces of plastic over the card reader, which may be a skimmer. Take a quick look around for a pinhole camera or keypad cover.
Tip 2: Shield your digits.
Cover the keypad when typing your PIN to prevent a pinhole camera from recording your information.
Tip 3: Beware of isolated ATMs.
ATMs with less visibility, such as those at popular tourist destinations, are prime targets for fraudsters. For a more secure ATM experience, use an ATM in a well-lit, visible location or one that is under video surveillance.
What to do if you think you’ve encountered a skimming device.
If you check out the ATM or gas station pump and think it’s been tampered with, let the management at the gas station or ATM-host location know so they can inspect it. Then, choose to pay for your fuel inside or find another ATM to use.
If you think you may have used an ATM that had a skimming device, check your account for purchases you did not make and call Verve immediately at 800.448.9228 if you see fraudulent charges. If our fraud block system, OmniShield, detects potentially fraudulent use of your card, a temporary hold will be placed on it, and you’ll receive a text message with details about the suspicious transaction.
It’s Verve’s goal—in line with our guiding 7 Cooperative Principles—to provide education, training and information to help our members stay financially fit. Verve is committed to keeping our members educated when it comes to their finances by providing details on financial risks and ways to stay safe.