Personally speaking, I have not actually used an ATM in years. Not used a self checkout either or paid at the pump.
There is a really good reason for that. About four or five years ago my wife and I were traveling on vacation and we had to stop for gas. Wanting to get in and out of our stop as quickly as possible I paid for my gas at the pump using my card.
About two or three weeks later I get a phone call from a hardware store asking when I was going to pick up the table saw that I bought online.
Now, I hadn’t purchased a table saw but apparently the night before someone that lived in the same town that I pumped that gas in had ordered a table saw using my name and card number.
As it turns out, they had a very devious way of getting a hold of my information.
Crooks can install “skimmers” onto the devices which collect and process your credit card information as you’re trying to withdraw cash or check your balance.
Skimmers are devices criminals use to take what belongs to you. They place them over the ATM card slot and then wait for unsuspecting citizens to swipe their cards. When they do, the skimmer collects all the information it can, including the card number and your password pin.
Although skimmer systems cost up to $12,000 on the black market, they’re a good investment for creative crooks who know where to place them. After just a day of use, a scammer can use his skimmer to collect dozens if not hundreds of credit card numbers and pins.
Before you use ATMs, you need to watch over for a skimmer. First, give every card slot a tug before using it. If the machine feels loose, you must beware. You should also alert the bank and tell them that their ATM could be compromised.
Protect yourself from ATM scams in four easy steps.
First, tug on the card reader to make sure it is not attached. A safe ATM should not budge or jiggle.
Second, cover your hand when typing your pin into the ATM.
Third, use ATMs that are lit well or during the day. Skimmers are most often installed at night when the scam artists can install them without being noticed.
Fourth, don’t use an ATM if you have a bad feeling about it. Even if it is just a “hunch,” try to stay clear of the ATM
Crooks have been using skimmers at ATMs for a while. But they have also expanded their usage to include self-checkout aisles in Walmart locations as well as gas station pumps.