Patrons of a Citibank near me recently got “skimmed” using the ATMs in the bank’s own lobby. Crooks installed hidden devices to capture information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards. They then used the information to steal funds from victims’ accounts.
Few banks and gas stations are doing enough to protect their customers, says Robert Siciliano, CEO of Boston-based security company IDTheftSecurity.com. His advice…
Examine ATMs carefully. If the card reader extends outward from the face of the ATM, give the external portion a quick yank or twist. Do the same with the panel containing the keypad. Don’t use the ATM if either feels loose. Be wary if the color of the plastic around the card reader or the keypad doesn’t match the plastic elsewhere.
Don’t assume that an ATM is safe because it is in a well-monitored location. Last year, there was a rash of skimmings at ATMs near the registers inside busy supermarkets.
Look for tiny hidden cameras aimed at the keypad. Crooks sometimes use these to learn victims’ PINs. A camera could be hidden inside a bank brochure holder near the ATM keypad or in a fake speaker mounted on the ATM. To be safe, use your free hand to cover your typing hand.
Confirm that your card slides in and out of the card reader smoothly. Jamming suggests a skimmer.
Be wary of gas pumps—you might be skimmed. Use a credit card (or select “credit” when using a debit card)—laws protect credit card users from substantial losses.
Check your bank account regularly. Contact the bank immediately if you notice any unexplained declines.
Source: Robert Siciliano, CEO, IDTheftSecurity.com, Boston, http://RobertSiciliano.com.