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Tips to Protect Yourself from ATM Fraud

Lisett Comai-Legrand

Lisett Comai-Legrand About The Author

Dec 19, 2017 8:59:00 AM

With ATM fraud and skimming on the rise, it has become increasingly important to protect your ATM and debit card information.

Skimming is when people steal your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and account number using devices known as skimmers. Skimming has been occurring for nearly 10 years and has resulted in people losing a lot of money.

Two devices can be used to capture your data. One device is placed near where you swipe your card. It automatically reads the magnetic stripe on your card which has your account number on it. The other device, a camera hidden from view, is used to capture your PIN number. Once the thieves have this data, they copy it to a blank card and use it to have access to your money.

More and more financial institutions are moving to EMV chip cards. When you have an EMV chip in your ATM or Debit Card, it becomes more difficult to skim the information off of a chip card than a mag stripe card. If you have a chip card, use that over your mag stripe card.

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Here are some tips to protect yourself from ATM fraud:

Cover Your PIN Code

Always use your hand to cover the keypad when you are using an ATM machine. Hidden cameras can be placed anywhere to steal your PIN number. Never use an ATM machine if there is someone else standing near you and never write your PIN down. It's also important to never give your PIN number to anyone. 

Use Familiar ATMs

If you use the same ATM frequently, you're more likely to notice if something is wrong with the ATM. For example, your card doesn't swipe as easily, there are errors with the transaction, or the machine just doesn't look right. 

Check Balances Frequently

Try to make it a habit to check your account balance at least once a week to make sure you are safe. In case your account is skimmed, make sure to inform your financial provider as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less chance there is that you will get reimbursed.

 Tips to Protect Yourself from ATM Fraud

Look for Hidden Cameras 

While there is a visible camera inside the ATM, there can also be another camera hidden by thieves to steal your PIN number. Look for any hole or slot that might look out of place. If in doubt, avoid using that ATM and go to another ATM.

Keep Little Cash in Your Account

Another trick to avoid losing large sums of money is to keep as little cash in your checking account as possible. In case your data gets stolen, the thief will only get access to a small amount of money, which can be reimbursed if you notify your financial institution in a timely manner.

Monitor ATM Behavior

Pay attention to anything that seems unusual about the ATM. If it is unusually slow or freezes, or asks for your PIN number twice, it has most likely been tampered with. Try using a different ATM just to be on the safe side.

Sign Up for Account Alerts

If your financial institution offers alerts, sign up for them. These alerts inform you whenever there is irregular activity on your credit or debit card every time it is used.

Learn More Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud

There are many other ways you can stay vigilant while using ATMs to protect yourself from skimmers. If you are a victim of ATM fraud, make sure to inform your financial institution as soon as possible.

Want to more about protecting yourself from ATM fraud? Check out this video from KIMT News 3, featuring our Organization Development and Trainer, Robin Fries.