1. Money

Skimming Scams

ATM Skimmers - Pocket Skimmers

By

Don’t fall prey to ATM skimming scams. Scammers can quickly read a card’s information and use it to access your account fraudulently. With a small device, your card’s information gets stored so that criminals can easily get to it later.

Skimmers may be installed on ATM machines, and sometimes you can’t even notice them. A small device goes over the normal card reading slot and reads your card’s magnetic stripe. Skimmers can also be handheld devices that a dishonest merchant can keep in his pocket. While charging your card while you’re out at dinner, for example, a scammer can run your card through a skimmer as well.

To avoid any hassles, use these tricks to avoid getting caught in a skimming scam:

  • Use secure ATM machines – under video surveillance or inside of a bank lobby. They're less likely to be tampered with. Thieves have to take more risk installing skimmers where there are security cameras.
  • Cover the ATM keypad as you're entering your PIN -- just in case there's a hidden camera around.
  • Skimming devices will stick out a few extra inches from an ATM. If something looks suspicious, find another ATM. Don't fall for a poor fitting device (or a sticker or sign that says "Swipe Here First", or “Use This Machine Only”).
  • If a machine keeps your card, call the bank immediately and report it.
  • Don't accept "help" from anybody hanging around the ATM machine. They may say they were having trouble also and you just need to enter your PIN again.
  • Keep your eyes on your card if you have any doubts. Don't let a merchant walk off with your card -- even for a few seconds.

The University of Texas police department has a very nice page showing how ATM skimmers look.

  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Banking / Loans
  4. Scams Security Safety
  5. Skimming Scams - ATM Skimmers - Pocket Skimmers

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.