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Don’t Be “Skimmed” By ATM Thieves

atm fraud

MADISON, Wisconsin (November 1, 2015)    ATM “skimming” is a process in which thieves obtain information from the magnetic strips on the back of debit cards by placing a well-disguised device over an ATM’s card-insert area.

The device captures the card number and security data while simultaneously recording the cardholder, by way of a tiny camera pointed at the ATM’s keypad, as the cardholder enters their PIN.  The thieves are then able to drain the debit card’s funds or spend the balance at will.  Skimming can happen at all ATM’s, including ATM’s in heavy traffic areas.

According to FICO (a credit scoring and analytics firm), attacks on ATM’s have reached the highest level in 20 years.  ATM thefts on bank properties have increased by174 percent while successful attacks on non-bank ATM’s have experienced a frightening 317 percent increase.

Here are a few tips you can utilize to protect yourself says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW):

Try to visit only ATM’s you trust 

  • By using your bank’s network, you may be eligible for security policies or services they provide to members.
  • If an ATM looks damaged or tampered with, report it to the ATM owner and move to a different ATM

Cover your PIN

  • Make it a habit to cover your PIN when you’re withdrawing cash.
  • Use whichever hand corresponds to the card-insert area.  If you insert the card on the right side of the ATM, enter your PIN with your left hand, covering it with your right. This will ensure your hand blocks any hidden camera on the machine.

Pay attention to your charges

  • ·         Check your statement carefully for charges that you did not make yourself. Skimmers will often make small, infrequent charges to avoid detection.

Report fraud ASAP!

  • If you experience any ATM fraud, report it as fast as you can.  Under the Electronic Transfer Fund Act, the sooner you report any unauthorized charges, the greater your federal protections are.

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PIAW members are professionals who homes, autos, and businesses from the everyday risks you encounter.  To find a PIA member near you, look for the PIA logo or visit

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