Skimming devices record data from the magnetic strips on the back of financial cards. Criminals place them on card machines to collect data and create counterfeit cards. They combine the data with hidden camera video of PIN entry to use the new, fake cards to withdraw cash and make purchases.
Skimming devices are often color coordinated, making them difficult to spot on ATMs. Finding the skimming device on a gas pump is virtually impossible as it is often hidden on the inside. Some of the more common ways to hide them is put an envelope holder close to the ATM, or what looks like an envelope holder with a small pin hole in it, and a small camera mounted inside. Sometimes they are mounted overhead.
Please pay careful attention to your account activity and credit card/debit card statements. Please report any irregularities or suspicions to police. Any time you are using a device anywhere, using your card, look for something unusual.
Police offer tips to ATM users for avoiding skimmers
- Closely examine ATM card slots to make sure nothing appears to be attached to the front of them.
- Do not use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, to fit poorly or to be loose.
- Avoid device instructions that say things like "Swipe Here First" or "Use This Machine Only"
- If something does not look right, use another ATM.
- Always cover the ATM keypad as you are entering your PIN in case a hidden camera is nearby.
- Never accept "help" from anybody at an ATM machine.
- Immediately call the customer service number on the ATM if a machine keeps your card, appears suspicious or does not function properly.