Fraud Education Center
With confirmed cases of ATM skimming on the rise, it’s more important than ever that consumers know how to protect themselves from this fraud technique. ATM skimmers are devices that criminals add to a legitimate ATM in order to obtain unsuspecting consumers’ debit card information. The thieves then use this information to create fake debit cards out of non-activated gift cards or to make purchases online. The good news is there are ways to defend your account information from these illegal devices. Read on for tips on how to protect your money.
- Be Vigilant When using any card reader – including ATMs and pay-at-the-pump stations – especially ones that you’re unfamiliar with, watch for unusual marks, scratches, or loose pieces of equipment. Be on the lookout for colors that don’t match the rest of the display. For example, if the entire machine is silver with blue accents, but the card slot is red and white, it could be an indicator that the slot is actually a skimming device. Criminals often target high-traffic ATMs for skimming, so use extra caution in tourist hot spots and when using ATMs located outdoors (out of sight locations make it easier to tamper with the device). For ATMs that you use frequently, watch carefully for any changes to the machine, such as new keypads or odd looking equipment or wires, as they may indicate that the ATM has been tampered with.
- Protect Your PIN On some skimming devices, a tiny camera is used to record consumers’ PIN numbers when they enter them into the ATM. The best way to prevent that from happening is to use your free hand to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN. Also, it’s important to update your PIN number regularly. Contact your bank and they’ll help you make this simply change to better protect your funds.
- Monitor Your Accounts Finally, be sure that you regularly check your account balances and monitor the usage of your accounts. It can be helpful to sign up for alerts (such as a low balance SMS alert or a large dollar amount transaction alert) and watch for suspicious transactions or unusual withdrawals. If you’re only checking your bank account once a month when you receive your statement, your money is at risk.
- Jammed ATMs Steer clear of a jammed ATM machine that forces customers to use another ATM that has a skimmer attached. Often, the criminal will disable other ATMs in the area to draw users to the one that has the skimming device on it.
If you suspect an ATM has been tampered with, contact the ATM’s owner immediately. If you think you have used a compromised ATM, contact your bank and ask what your options are. They may flag your account for closer monitoring until you can confirm that your data is safe, or they might help you change your PIN to increase the security on your debit card. Resource: Wisconsin Bankers Association
What Do Skimmers Look Like?
Skimmers have been around for years and are constantly evolving. Below are some examples of skimmers, however, these are only examples and are not all inclusive.
Debit/Credit Card Fraud
The simplest of technology like debit cards, credit cards and ATMs still pose some risk for fraud. With some basic common-sense based actions, you can avoid falling victim to criminals’ attempts to get at your information.
- Update your contact information with us so we can quickly get in touch with you about any suspicious charges
- Copy the customer service phone number from the back of each of your debit or credit cards and keep this list in a separate location from your purse or wallet
- Never write your PIN on the back of your card
- Always keep your card in sight when making a purchase
- Let us know your travel dates and destination so we can determine what is a suspicious transaction versus a vacation purchase
- Sign up for banking alerts to help you monitor when particular changes occur, such as irregular card activity
- Stay away from ATMs that appear dirty or in disrepair – they may be fake machines set up to capture card information
- Do not use ATMs with unusual signage, such as a command to enter your PIN twice to complete a transaction
- Watch out for ATMs that appear to have been altered, it could be a sign that someone attached a skimming device
- Avoid using the ATM if suspicious individuals are standing nearby
- Remember to check your balance on a regular basis
- Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov
- Credit Bureaus: www.annualcreditreport.com
Check out these two guides for information on how to protect and maintain your own computer systems and data.
Identity theft has become a very serious crime and is seen too often in today’s news. It happens when your personal information is stolen and used, without your knowledge, to commit fraud. Identity theft costs you time, money, and your good reputation.
Prevention starts with you
To avoid becoming a victim, you must pay close attention as you go about your daily lives. Be extremely cautious about giving your personal information over the phone unless you know who you are doing business with and have initiated the call. Financial institutions never call customers asking for account information. Also, be wary of any emails that warn of extreme consequences if you do not take the immediate action they demand. Here are some tips to help keep your identity safe:
- Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet
- Protect your incoming and outgoing mail
- Shred personal identifying information such as statements
- Make sure your credit and debit cards are safely stored
- Review your credit report at least annually
- For additional information on preventing identity theft, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
If you become a victim of identity theft, start taking action:
- Call the credit bureaus and add a fraud alert to your report
- Order copies of your credit report so you can determine if there are any problems
- File a complaint with Federal Trade Commission
- Contact your financial institution
- File a police report and keep copies of all calls and reports
Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information like user names, passwords, account numbers, and credit/debit card details by misrepresenting themselves as a trustworthy person in electronic communications. Often communications appear to come from social media sites, online payment processors or IT administrators. The recipient is asked to enter personal information and account details at a fake website where the look and feel is nearly identical to the legitimate site.
Smishing is a form of phishing, but it is delivered through cell phone text messages that typically ask for immediate action. Recipients are given a fake URL or a phone number that is connected to an automated attendant. Their system contains prompts requesting personal information. Often, the smishing message will display the number the message was sent from as “5000” instead of a valid phone number. If you see this, beware as the SMS message was sent by email to the cell phone and not as a text.