There have been recent reports of ATM fraud in our area where thieves installed a “skimming” device on an ATM card reader. The typical ATM skimmer is a device smaller than a deck of cards that fits over the existing card reader. Most of the time, the attackers will also place a hidden camera somewhere in the vicinity with a view of the number pad in order to record personal-identification-numbers. The camera may be in the card reader, mounted at the top of the ATM, or even just to the side inside a plastic case holding brochures. Some criminals may install a fake PIN pad over the actual keyboard to capture the PIN directly, bypassing the need for a camera. The thief has to come back to the compromised machine to pick up the file containing all the stolen data.
The reports of ATM skimming in our area involve a certain type of ATM that is not used by Union Bank and have not involved users of Union Bank ATMs. To be safe, use these techniques to avoid getting caught in a skimming scam:
- Use secure ATM machines — under video surveillance . They're less likely to be tampered with. Thieves have to take more risk installing skimmers where there are security cameras.
- Cover the ATM keypad as you're entering your PIN — just in case there's a hidden camera around.
- Skimming devices will stick out a few extra inches from an ATM. If something looks suspicious, find another ATM. Don't fall for a poor fitting device (or a sticker or sign that says "Swipe Here First", or “Use This Machine Only”).
- If a machine keeps your card, call the bank immediately and report it.
- Don't accept "help" from anybody hanging around the ATM machine. They may say they were having trouble also and you just need to enter your PIN again.
If you don't notice a card skimmer and your card data does get stolen, take heart. You can limit your liability for unauthorized transactions by reviewing your account statement and promptly notifying your card issuer (for credit cards) or bank (where you have your account) of all transactions conducted without your permission.