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Watch Out for Skimmers

June 08, 2016

If you use an ATM often or on occasion, it’s wise to pay attention to a few things about the machine you’re using. According to an article from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), ATM skimming is a growing problem. An estimated one in five people have become victims of skimmers, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.  The BBB offers some tips to help fight identity thieves at the ATM:  Protect your PIN by covering the keypad with your hand as you type in your number. If the keypad looks different to you, don’t use it. Thieves can place false keypads over the real one.  Give it a wiggle- If parts of the ATM machine look damaged or different to you, give it a wiggle. Skimming devises are generally false panels the thieves have attached to the ATM, (i.e.: over the card slot). Also, look around and if you notice any new or suspiciously placed cameras or signs, walk away.  Be picky about your ATM- Experts recommends using bank ATMs in well lit, high traffic areas, over a stand-alone one in public places. Besides attaching devices to legitimate ATMs, thieves will also place phony ATMs in public places.  Keep an eye on your statements- Thieves are tricky and even the most vigilant person can fall victim. Monitor your accounts, and carefully examine the itemized breakdown of your charges and debits.  Report fraud immediately –If you notice any fraudulent activity, report it to your bank immediately. Protection for debit cards vary, and if you wait too long to report fraud, your account could be cleaned out and your bank might not reimburse you.  Keep in mind that skimmers aren’t exclusive to ATMs; gas pumps and retailers can also be tampered with. For an idea of what to watch out for, check out this NY Times story which offers several links to pictures of various skimming devices.  Should questions, concerns, or an actual data theft arise, LegalShield members can receive legal advice from experienced lawyers and services that include access to restoration experts with IDShield. Having access to such valuable services mean you don't have face this serious crime alone.