Tips to Protect you from ATM Thieves
Recently supermarket chain ALDI said it had discovered that payment terminals in major U.S. cities in 11 states, including Illinois, had been altered to allow the skimming of card numbers, cardholder names and PINs.
Experts say that losses from skimming are approaching $1 billion. Nearly one in five fraud victims reported having their credit card PIN or debit card ATM PIN information stolen in 2009, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Experts see ATM skimming continuing to rise this year and next. Consumers aren't aware of ATM tampering because ATMs have 40 years of trust.
Skimming isn't new. It's been around for at least 10 years. What has changed is that the technology of the bad guy is getting better and better every year. Consumers need to watch their own backs.
Basically, ATM thieves use two devices to capture your PIN and card data. One device sits near where you swipe your card and reads the magnetic stripe on your card with your account number. Even more confusing, the device mimics the card slot. The technology has evolved to a point where the molded plastic fits like it belongs there. Devices are even readily available over the Internet for as little as $300.
A camera, hidden from view, captures the PIN. This data can be retrieved in real time. You can be in your car with a laptop remotely accessing the device.
Thieves then burn the data onto a blank card to access your money.
U.S. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien wants consumers to be warned. "The public is notified after an event," he says. And don't take bank security for granted. Fraud can occur at any bank in any part of the country. Thieves are even sending out false text alerts to get consumer data.
Traditionally banks are slow to adopt anti-skimming measures.
Experts add that debit card users are most at risk. Typically, consumers must report fraudulent charges within two days, limiting your liability to $50. If you report ATM skimming fraud within 60 days, you're liable for the first $500 of any transaction. Thieves carefully orchestrate ATM withdrawals, maxing out cash withdrawals one day and waiting until after midnight for the next stash, which quickly adds up.
Tips to Help you Protect your Account