Over a billion dollars are lost each year in the United States through “ATM Skimming” – far more than any losses from bank robberies – and it’s growing at a rate of more than 10% every year. ATM Skimming is a cybercrime where the criminals steal (or “skim”) your ATM/debit card data when you’re using a typical ATM machine.
They do this by fitting a small card reader over the typical ATM card slot, thus capturing your information. Additionally, the criminals install mini cameras above or near the ATM to capture your PIN number. The data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the cybercriminals somewhere nearby. The average skimming attack usually lasts only an hour or two during peak ATM usage times (i.e. lunch hour or after work). Meanwhile, you have no idea that you’ve just been had and are at risk. These cyber-criminals will then sell the data on the cards to others so that they can either clone your debit card or wipe out your bank account.
5 Tips To Prevent ATM Skimming
- Cover your hand as you type. Obstructing the view of your pin from any cameras will render your data useless.
- Pay attention to the area around the ATM card slot. If anything looks loose or out of place, pull to see if you can remove it.
- Be aware of surroundings. Be extra careful of ATMs in dark or isolated places.
- Does the machine look different? If anything looks out of place (extra signage, mirrors, etc.) then avoid the machine.
- Notify the bank. If you find or suspect an ATM has been compromised, notify your bank and law enforcement immediately.