Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Prevent ATM Skimming With A Few Simple Tricks

ATM “skimming” (i.e., stealing PINs and account information by use of illegal devices/cameras) is a growing problem. CEO Kirk Sanford and Sightline Payments encourage patrons to follow the Better Business Bureau recommendations in order to prevent becoming a victim of ATM thieves, who steal as much as $1 billion annually from unsuspect ATM users. Javelin Strategy & Research estimates that one in five people have become victims.

Kirk Sanford recently stated, "Identity thieves tamper with ATMs, including those in casinos, in any number of different ways in order to steal debit card numbers and PINs. It only takes a few seconds to install cameras over the keypad or a device over the card reader. ATMs aren't the only hot spots; credit card swipers at gas pumps and retailers can be tampered with as well."

A Better Business Bureau spokesperson adds, "Skimming devices are becoming increasingly harder to detect and often blend in seamlessly with the ATM."

Kirk Sanford and Sightline Payments suggest following some simple safety measures, such as covering the keypad with your other hand when you enter your PIN and avoiding low-light ATMs or machines in low traffic areas.

Other tips include looking at the ATM carefully; if you notice what appears to be a damaged or odd area, giving it a wiggle may demonstrate a skimmer. Always be prepared to walk away and find another ATM if there’s any cause for suspicion.

Perhaps the best prevention (or minimization) of ATM theft is to pay careful attention to your bank statements, and then reporting any discrepancies or suspicious activity as soon as possible.

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