Scam Alert: Credit Card Skimming and ATM Security

Friday, March 08 at 11:20 AM
Category: Personal Finance

The U.S. Secret Service is warning against skimming fraud which has recently been hitting the news. Skimming is when a malicious card reader device is attached to a legitimate credit card reader to electronically transfer private account information, like account numbers, to the person who set-up the malicious card reader. The private information obtained can then be used in fraudulent transactions. Though skimming devices can be attached to different types of credit card machines, ATMs and credit card machines at gas pumps are common targets.

The link below to the U.S. Secret Service takes you to their warning to consumers about skimming fraud:

http://www.secretservice.gov/Skimming%20Fraud.pdf.*

Here are some important steps you can take while using an ATM.

Security at Walk-Up ATMs

  1. Before using an ATM look for any signs it has been tampered with, especially near the card reader and keypad. Observe if the card reader looks different than normal such as it being loose, bulky or having  lights which previously were not present.
  2. Always observe your surroundings before conducting an ATM transaction. If you are driving to an ATM, then park as close as possible to the terminal and keep doors locked and windows secured. Observe the entire area from the safety of your car. Try to conduct the transaction from within your vehicle, if possible. If you see anyone or anything that appears to be suspicious, then leave the area at once.
  3. If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, then go to another ATM. Report the problem to the financial institution that operates the ATM.
  4. When possible, take a companion along when using an ATM, especially at night.
  5. Minimize the time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. If the ATM is in use, then give the person using the terminal the privacy you expect. Allow them to move away from the ATM before you approach the terminal.
  6. Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so others cannot see your pin or transaction amount. Once you complete your transaction, take your money, card and receipt, and immediately move away from the terminal to a more secure area.
  7. If you see anyone or anything suspicious while conducting a transaction, then cancel your transaction and leave immediately. If anyone follows you after making an ATM transaction, then go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.

The U.S. Secret Service* advises if you suspect you’re a victim of skimming, then please contact the police and/or your local U.S. Secret Service office.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert when specific advice is needed. Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Consumer Protection, Debit Cards, Financial Education, Fraud Alert
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