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How to Spot ATM Skimming (Before it Spots You)

ATM skimming isn’t new. According to the CO-OP Network of credit union ATMs, the act of criminals attaching face card readers to an ATM or point-of-sale device has been around for decades. However, the crime of stealing card numbers and PINs has really escalated in recent years. Here’s how to spot a skimming device and protect yourself from this invasive, costly crime.

What is ATM Skimming

An ATM skimmer is a device attached to an ATM or other card-reading device at the point where you insert your card. These skimmers, which often go undetected because they appear part of the overall machine, read your card number and PIN. 

The only way to know if an ATM skimming device has been attached to an ATM is to pull on the area where you insert the card. Does it move? Does it or the keypad appear slightly larger or a different color from the rest of the machine? Do you see any small cameras mounted above or near the keypad? If so, use a different ATM and report it to the police.

General ATM Safety Precautions Start With Keeping Your Card and PIN Private

To keep from falling victim to an ATM skimming scam, check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

  • Cover the keypad as you type in your PIN. This includes keypads at the grocery store or other public locations.
  • Inspect every ATM before using it. Look for different-colored card slots, movable pieces, glue residue around the keypad, and extra cameras that don’t seem to have a purpose.
  • Be extra cautious around ATMs. If an ATM is located around large bushes, or you feel vulnerable, seek out another device to get cash or take care of your banking needs.

Always Report Skimmers

Visit the FTC website to report any skimming device you find. Additionally, contact the police and give us a call at Transportation FCU. If you need to find another nearby ATM, we have over 30,000 to choose from, including those at Walgreens, Costco, and 7-Elevent stores.  

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