BBB tips on how to protect financial info from ATM skimmers

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(PRESS RELEASE) – BBB is warning consumers to stay alert after ATM Skimmers were found at Bank ATMs .

Before using an ATM or filling up your gas tank, Better Business Bureau advises consumers to inspect the machine prior to swiping your debit or credit card. According to the ATM Industry Association, card skimming is defined as the unauthorized capture of magnetic stripe information by modifying the hardware or software of a payment device, or using a separate card reader. Once a consumer swipes their card through the fake card reader, their account information is sent to the scammer, leaving the consumer vulnerable to theft. In addition, thieves may use hidden cameras to record the consumer’s hand movements to obtain their personal identification number.

While skimmers have been around for years, the technology to steal account information continues to advance, and devices have become smaller and harder to detect. It is important to check your surroundings whenever you are using public devices that leave you vulnerable to any type of identity theft.

To help reduce ATM skimming, BBB offers the following tips:

* Inspect the ATM – Avoid using ATMs in poorly lit or low trafficked areas. Experts often recommend choosing a bank ATM over standalone ATMs in public places. Look for new or suspiciously placed cameras and unusual signage. Walk away and use another ATM if something appears out of the ordinary.

* Protect your PIN – When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to protect your private information from any cameras in the vicinity. Periodically change your PIN.

* Monitor your statements – Even the most careful person can fall victim to skimmers. Keep a close eye out for suspicious charges on the itemized breakdown of your accounts. Through your financial institution, you can also sign up for alerts that will notify you when certain types of transactions occur.

* Report fraud immediately – Report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it. Consumer protections for debit and credit cards vary but depend largely on when the fraudulent activity is reported. * Consider using an RFID sleeve- Many credit/debit cards and driver’s licenses contain RFID chips with personal data. By using this sleeve, you can keep your personal data secure by preventing unauthorized access.

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