A.T.M. Machines. Banking Scam.
On numerous occasions, I have written about the epidemic of scammers trying to rip off your money and identity. Unfortunately, these criminals never sleep and are always looking for new methods of perpetrating their crimes.
One of these methods is called A.T.M. “skimming,” and it is on the rise. Skimming is a way for crooks to steal your debit card information when you use an A.T.M. They then duplicate your debit card to make withdrawals from your bank accounts.
An April 2016 article in the NY Times points out that the crime of skimming has increased 600% from 2014 to 2015. This is according statistics from FICO Card Alert Services, an organization that monitors A.T.M. activity for banks.
Skimming entails placing an illegal card-reading device within the card slot of an A.T.M. This device then captures all banking information on the card. Hidden cameras placed on the A.T. M. then record your pin number. In absence of a camera, a person will stand close behind you and try to read your pin number. The crooks then make a phony duplicate card from this stolen information, and they are off to the bank.
When skimming first came to the attention of law enforcement and banks, it was concentrated in big cities on the east and west coast, but it has now spread throughout the country. Almost daily, you can read in your local paper about the latest victims of skimming right in your neighborhood. And these crooks are heartless, they don’t care how much or little money you have. Their goal is to steal it from you and move on to the next victim.
So how do you know if the A.T.M. you are using is safe and not fixed with a skimming device and how do you protect yourself?
Security experts say to be aware when the slot you place your card into jiggles or feels lose. If you feel this, don’t go through with your transaction. Also, use one hand to shield the keypad as you are entering your pin number in case there is a camera or person watching. The pin number is vital for the thieves, so do everything you can to protect it. Of course, if you find money missing from your account, contact the bank and law enforcement immediately.
A.T.M. machines are very convenient and millions of people use them, and it’s a shame we have to worry about this now, but it’s the world we currently live in. Criminals don’t need to necessarily rob you at the point of a gun anymore; they simply need to find ways to exploit existing technology.
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles.