Protecting Your Money At The ATM
There are many ways to for consumers to safeguard their financial information. One of which is protecting your money at the ATM by avoiding credit card skimmers. Before you make your next stop at the ATM to withdraw money be sure to familiarize yourself with skimming and the ways you can identify if your ATM transaction is at risk.
Skimming is a process in which thieves place a small device or “skimmer” on a card reader like an ATM, gas pump, or postage stamp kiosk that enables them to steal your card data. Skimming is not new, but advancements in technology have made it harder to detect.
Skimmers tend to target places under less surveillance. Financial institutions are typically less susceptible due to regularly scheduled ATM maintenance checks and robust fraud monitoring but it is always important to pay special attention to anywhere you decide to swipe your card.
There are steps you can take to see if the machine has been compromised and to ensure your financial safety. PenFed Fraud Fighters, Steven Gasvoda, Senior Vice President of Corporate Security, and John Kelly, Senior Vice President of Payment and Production Services, have some helpful tips to keep you safe when conducting transactions at an ATM.
1. Check for Tampering. Check for some obvious signs of tampering at the top of the ATM, near the speakers, the side of the screen, the card reader itself, and the keyboard. If something looks different such as a different color or material, graphics that aren’t aligned correctly or anything else that just doesn’t look right, don’t use that ATM.
2. Wiggle Everything. ATMs are solidly constructed and generally don’t have any jiggling or loose parts. Pull at protruding parts like the card reader. See if the keyboard is securely attached and in just one piece. Does anything move when you push at it?
3. Be On The Lookout. Always be aware of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for any unusual devices on/around the ATM. Are there any unusual marks, tape or glue residue on the ATM?
4. Always Assume Someone Is Looking. Whenever you enter your debit card’s PIN assume someone is looking. Cover the keypad with your hand when you enter your PIN. Even if you don’t notice the skimmer and swipe your card covering your hand when you enter your PIN can sometimes help keep you safe.
5. Report Any Issue. If you have trouble inserting your cards into the ATM report it to your financial institution.
6. Verify Your Transactions. Always monitor your accounts and report any unusual debit transactions as soon as possible to your financial institution.
7. Credit Before Debit. For many transactions you can select to use your debit card as credit to avoid entering your PIN information. This keeps your PIN safe and will keep money from being deducted immediately.
At PenFed, we take our member’s financial security seriously and actively monitor credit card and ATM activity. We deploy a variety of analytical and physical monitoring measures. However, the first line of defense is being personally aware and reporting unusual circumstances and/or activity. So make sure watching out for skimmers becomes standard for you when protecting your money at the ATM.