How to stay safe from skimmers, scammers, and scoundrels

Published April 26, 2018

Stay Safe While Getting Cash
Scammers are everywhere, including ATM’s. These tips can help you keep you safe from skimmers, scammers, and scoundrels.
1.) ATMs in weird locations
Cash is convenient. While it’s tempting to use any ATM that is hand that can be risky. ATMs in financial institutions are regularly monitored, maintained, and covered by security cameras. In contrast, an ATM in a convenience store or dimly lit corner may not get that same attention. Most of these machines are privately-owned and the operators assume little liability for their safety.
Choose ATMs in highly-visible and public areas to minimize chances of encountering a compromised machine.
2.) Clever disguises added to machines

Two modifications are common in ATM scams. The first is a duplicate keypad on top of the existing one which relays PIN information to a third party, enabling fraud at a later time. The second is a phony card-reader which processes your card information and sends it elsewhere. These scams have become more common and harder to detect.
Several hints that a machine has been tampered with: First, keypads get worn over time. If an old machine has new-looking keys, something may have been modified. Similarly, card-readers develop scuffs and scratches; new-looking card-readers are another red flag. Second, scammers install devices quickly, and may use quick-fixes like electrical tape which leave signs of modification.
If you think an ATM has been modified, don’t use it. Contact the local police if a skimmer is found on the ATM.
3.) Nearby strangers

Some scammers use their own senses to rob you. Standing behind you, the scammer will watch you enter your PIN. If successful, the scammer will mark you for pickpocketing and then use your ATM card to empty your account.
Other scammers use an accomplice who drops a bag behind you just after you enter your PIN and may also engage you in conversation. While you’re distracted, the scammer grabs your card and replaces it with a phony, or just takes the cash you’ve withdrawn and runs.
To protect yourself, cover your hand when entering your PIN, stand close to the machine, and keep an eye out for anyone sitting near the machine on a laptop – they may be monitoring a camera designed to capture your PIN. Most importantly, stay focused. Ignore anyone who approaches you until you’ve finished your transaction and watch your belongings.
If you think you’ve been victimized by ATM fraud, report it immediately.
Want to know more information to keep your finances safe?
Attend our FREE workshop: Skimmers, Scammers, and Scoundrels
When: May 23rd from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Maps Administrative Building
RSVP HERE: Event Link