ATM Fraud Prevention
ATM fraud can occur when individuals lose their card, give their card to someone else to use, or when their Personal Identification Number's (PIN's) confidentiality is compromised. By following these simple guidelines you can greatly reduce your exposure to ATM fraud.
Tips for protecting yourself against ATM fraud:
- Never write your PIN on your card or in your wallet. Memorize your PIN. Do not reveal your PIN to anyone not authorized to use the account.
- Never use your date of birth, social security number, license number or telephone number as a PIN.
- Don't throw away your ATM receipts at the ATM location. Keep them to reconcile your account, then dispose of them properly when you get home.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when using the ATM. If it is late at night, try to use a machine that is well lit and avoid dark, remote locations.
- Always make sure to retrieve your ATM card from the machine when the transaction is complete.
- Be aware of the person behind you. Make sure no one can see you entering your PIN or how much money you withdraw.
- Review your statement promptly to ensure all transactions are accurate. Report any discrepancies immediately.
- Destroy old ATM cards immediately after receiving your replacement cards.
In addition to the types of ATM fraud that most of us are now aware of, there are also ATM scams that can clean out your account quickly -- card withholding and skimming.
Card Withholding occurs when your card gets stuck in the ATM, you can't get it out, and you leave the card in the ATM planning to contact the financial institution the next morning. When you call, you find that the card was not stuck in the ATM. What happens is thieves put a substance into the ATM card slot which will cause your card to stick inside the ATM. They leave the ATM and wait for someone to attempt to use it. They then get in line behind you and try to watch you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). This is very common at drive-up ATMs where the user may not be paying attention to other people or cars nearby. The thieves even go so far as to put up a sign on the ATM stating: "If your card gets stuck, enter your PIN three separate times to retrieve it." This gives them three tries to watch you enter your PIN. After you leave frustrated, they remove your card. They can then use your card at other ATMs and Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals.
Skimming is done at businesses that offer Point-of-Sale (POS) devices for you to pay with your ATM card, such as gas stations. The thieves convince an employee to allow them to connect a lap top computer to the POS machine. The lap top is usually stored under the counter where the POS device is located. When you swipe your card in the POs device to make a payment the information on the magnetic strip on your ATM card is copied and loaded onto a disk. Thieves may also install a hidden video camera that records you entering your PIN. They then match the magnetic information to the PIN and access your accounts.