The next time you pull up to an ATM, take a closer look at the machine. Does it look a little clunkier than usual? Look too at what’s around you: Are there mirrors? Is there a brochure holder over your shoulder? Does it look like there might be a false panel or an extra light bar attached to the machine?
If something looks or feels amiss, walk away. You might save yourself from perpetuating a consumer fraud called ATM skimming. That’s when thieves attach devices onto ATM machines in order to copy a credit- or debit-card number, the information on the magnetic strip and even your personal identification number. “Many consumers may not be aware that an ATM has been tampered with because they’re not educated about this,” says Robert Vamosi, a security, risk and fraud research analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research.
Consider this your lesson.
Sophisticated skimming devices placed right over a card-reader slot allow scammers to capture the information embedded on the magnetic strip of a debit or credit card. They might also have what’s called a pinhole camera mounted over your shoulder — say, in a plastic holder for brochures or a false panel — that records your fingers tapping
Filed under: Notes To Remember