Skimmers: What Are They and How Do You Protect Yourself

Posted by Tiffany Watkins, VP Risk Management & Compliance on Dec 12, 2018 2:44:14 PM

What is a skimming device?

When it comes to protecting your identity and personal information, you can never be too careful. Thieves are placing realistic looking overlays on top of actual card readers so that when you swipe your card, both the skimming device and merchant terminal are reading your card information. They often use hidden cameras, laptops, or cell phones to record the PIN. The criminals usually leave the devices on the machines for short periods of time and then pry the device off and use the recorded information to create fake debit or credit cards, withdrawing thousands of dollars from accounts. You are vulnerable wherever you use your plastic cards. Catholic Federal Credit Union members are not liable for fraudulent transactions on their accounts.

 How Do You Protect Yourself?

  • Inspect the card reader before inserting your card. Since skimmers are usually only on the machines for a matter of hours, they are often loosely attached. If there are loose parts, scratches, or something doesn’t seem right, DO NOT use the machine. Contact the financial institution right away, as well as law enforcement.
  • Cover the keypad as you enter your personal information number and complete your transaction.
  • Use a familiar ATM so you’ll be more likely to notice if something looks unusual. Thieves are less likely to attach the skimmers to card readers where there is a lot of traffic since someone might notice them altering the machine. Watch out for areas frequented by tourists since they are often targets of this scam.
  • Monitor your account. View online statements on a frequent basis and report any suspicious activity immediately. Continue to monitor your statements on an ongoing basis.
  • Keep your contact information up-to-date so that we may contact you if we identify any suspicious activity on your account.

If you think your plastic card has been compromised, please contact Catholic Federal Credit Union at (989) 799-8744.  After hours you may contact (888) 918-7845 for your Debit or ATM card or (800) 449-7728 for your Visa Credit Card.

Additional Resources:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/06/avoid-skimmers-pump

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/man-sentenced-in-atm-skimming-conspiracy

Girl Using ATM

Topics: fraud protection, Security

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