Know the risks to stay safe.
ATM skimming occurs when criminals attach a device to ATMs that copies card numbers, personal identification numbers (PIN) and information encoded on the card's magnetic strip.
Risk Reduction and Protection
- Inspect the ATM: Does anything look out of place or not original? Is there anything taped to the machine? Do some parts look loose or in a different color (for example, the ATM is silver and the card slot is black)? Is there a brochure rack on the ATM or near the machine that seems out of place? Are there mirrors on the ATM? If you find anything that looks suspicious, don’t use the ATM.
- Recognize a Skimming Device: Many skimming devices are stuck to the machine or near the ATM with two-sided tape or even Velcro. Some skimming devices are inserted into the ATM's card slot. Once it is loaded, wireless cameras are often attached to the ATM keypad. This is how criminals capture not only your ATM/debit card number, but your PIN as well. Once this information is obtained, criminals can reproduce a fraudulent ATM card and begin withdrawing funds from your account.
- Protect Your PIN, Card and Account: Don’t share your PIN with anyone, and be sure to cover the screen and the keypad when you’re using your PIN. If your card is not returned after you completed your transaction or after pressing cancel, immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card and report the incident. Always check your monthly statements to ensure there is no suspicious activity.
Be Careful Using Your Debit Card in These Places
- Outdoor ATMs: Thieves target these ATMs by attaching a skimming device and a camera to the machines that will copy all of your information, including your debit card number and the information embedded in your card's magnetic strip. Always examine the ATM for tape or loose/dislodged parts before using it.
- Gas Stations: Lack of supervision at "pay at the pump" gas stations makes it easier for thieves to use cameras to capture your PIN or zip code.
- Restaurants: When your debit card leaves your sight, it can easily be skimmed or copied.