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Can Your ATM Be Dangerous?

By , Posted on Jun 15, 2010
General
General

ATM skimming devices have been in the news lately and for a good reason. Although these devices don’t look very intricate, the information crooks are able to get from them are enough to leave your account empty before you know it. The most unnerving part, however, is that the devices aren’t small and indiscreet. They look like they may have been placed there by the bank, or may not be noticed at all simply because a customer didn’t know what to look for. This only makes stopping and catching criminals more difficult.

The way the skimming devices work, initially, is by spying on customers when they are using an ATM. The device usually works in two parts.

First, when the customer swipes or enters their card into the ATM the magnetic strip on the card is copied and “remembered” by the skimmer. The other part comes into play when the customer enters their pin number. Crooks are able to see what numbers are entered due to hidden cameras they have either attached directly to the ATM or nearby.

Once they have all the information they need, criminals are able to make a copy of your card and can start spending.

Banks usually catch the sudden, out of control spending fairly quickly and notify customers, but catching the criminals is not always a fast process.

However, there are ways to protect your information. First, if anything looks odd when you walk up or drive up to the ATM, go inside the bank and let them know immediately. Next, cover the keypad when you are entering your pin number. Lastly, if another customer asks for your assistance or asks if you need help, just kindly decline and tell them to go inside the bank and direct their questions to a bank employee.

For more information about ATM skimmers and what they look like, visit the following websites:

http://consumerist.com/2009/04/heres-what-a-card-skimmer-looks-like-on-an-atm.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/21/AR2010042102826.html

Source:
http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/how-to-spot-an-a-t-m-skimming-device/

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