How to Protect Yourself from ATM Skimming?

ATM card is a popular and simple way to get money from banks and checking accounts. However, using an ATM card carries some risks. In recent years, the practice of "ATM skimming" has unfortunately become a concern.

When a burglar installs a card reader inside an ATM card slot, this is known as ATM skimming. When you enter your ATM card into the machine, this gadget reads the information on the magnetic stripe, allowing fraudsters to "clone" your card and use it to withdraw money from your account or make transactions at retail locations. Many times, an account holder is absolutely ignorant that their card has been skimmed and does not realize it until their account has been hacked. Fortunately, some banks have implemented account monitoring systems to alert consumers when this happens.

What Are the Types of ATM Skimming Devices?

ATM card skimming is a complex illegal crime that cannot be carried out by just anybody. The method is very technological and involves two basic devices −

  • a skimmer that swipes and saves card information and

  • a concealed camera that catches the PINs of slotted cards.

The skimmer is commonly installed on the front of an ATM, where it can readily grab the information from every credit or debit card inserted into the machine. The camera, on the other hand, is generally strategically positioned in the security mirror or the brochure holder.

These skimming devices are generally cleverly camouflaged, so the victim is unaware of their presence. Users who are familiar with financial infrastructure or who have seen a skimmer before would easily detect it.

How to Avoid ATM Skimming?

ATM card skimming is one of the most serious and dangerous issue in the global financial security, and efforts are underway to combat this scourge.

Although ATM skimming is more prevalent at ATMs in malls, gas stations, and other public places, there have been reports of ATM skimming at banks too. It's reasonable to assume that no ATM is completely protected against skimming.

To summarize, numerous measures have been made to reduce the incidence of ATM skimming, including the installation of CCTV cameras and other basic security devices at ATM sites. However, the perpetrators of this crime continue to have a field day. As a result, you'd have to take further protective/preventive actions to better protect yourself.

How to Protect Yourself from ATM Skimming?

You can take the following precautionary measures to protect yourself from ATM Skimming −

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Anything Unusual

If your bank's ATM appears to be malfunctioning, call the bank right away. You want to make sure that any new features are due to the bank upgrading the machine rather than a skimmer. The appearance of the card slot, or even the entire ATM faceplate, can be altered by a skimming device.

Unfamiliar ATMs Should Be Avoided

Avoid using unfamiliar ATMs if at all feasible. It might be tough to tell whether something is wrong with a machine when you don't know what it should look like. Whenever possible, use the local ATMs of your home bank.

ATM PIN Keys Should Be Covered

Skimming criminals will also require your PIN in order to make the maximum money from your account. They will attach a very small camera (typically at the top of the machine) to watch you type your PIN on the keypad because this information is not part of your card's magnetic stripe. When entering your PIN, you may safeguard yourself by protecting the keyboard with your other hand.

ATMs Should Be Used Less Frequently

In principle, every time you use an ATM, your card is in danger. You'll offer yourself a bit more security against skimming if you can decrease the number of times you need to withdraw cash.

Examine your bank account balances

Staying on top of your account balances is another strategy to protect yourself. You'll be able to detect any unlawful or suspicious activity and report it to the bank if you check your balances often (either by phone or online).

The Problem Isn't Just with ATMs

Be aware that virtually every card reader, especially those that are public and unattended, is vulnerable to skimming. At self-serve petrol stations with card readers on the pumps, for example, credit card skimmers can be a concern.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2022


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