Do you know what a skimmer looks like?
Awareness is the first step to protecting yourself and keeping your money safe. When Tyndall is notified of financial scams occurring in our area, we feel it is important to notify our members so you are aware of them.
One of the fastest-growing scams today is the use of a card skimmer. These skimmers come in many shapes and sizes and are often difficult to recognize. They are mounted onto an ATM or a gas pump and are designed to look like the card reader on the machine. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of how real they can look:
|Real ATM card slot||Skimmer over card slot|
|Skimmer being placed over |
normal card slot
|Skimmer in place over card slot -|
looks real, doesn't it?
The skimmer is used to steal the information from the magnetic strip on your ATM card or debit card. Once the thief has your information, he can use it for transactions performed by telephone or online.
Sometimes, thieves will add a tiny camera to the ATM machine or gas pump to steal your PIN (Personal Identification Number) as well. If they have the card information and your PIN, they can easily create a fake card and use it for store purchases and ATM withdrawals.
How can you protect yourself?
- Be observant. If something looks out of place on the machine, be cautious and use a different machine.
- Look for mirrors mounted on the machine that may not have been there before. Also look for new brochure holders or other items mounted on the machine; they may have a camera hidden in them.
- Look at the labels on the machine; do they match the others? Are there misspelled words or sentences that make no sense? If they look odd to you, report your concern to the financial institution or gas station and use a different machine.
- At an ATM, use your other hand to shield your PIN from prying eyes…and cameras.
Bottom line - it pays to be cautious wherever you use your card. Check Cards (debit cards) and VISA Credit Cards are very convenient and useful, and they are used safely by hundreds of thousands of people every day.
But remember, criminals are smart and will do their best to find a way to scam you. Whether you use cash, credit cards, debit cards, or checks, there is a scam out there that is designed to trick you and steal your money.Stay aware and keep your hard-earned money safe.