May 4, 2013

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft at the ATM

atm identity theftATM machines are great for getting your cash fast, but identity thieves also love to use ATM machines to access your financial information and hack into your personal identity.  If you don’t want to fall victim to an ATM hacking crime then you will want to pay attention to this article that will tell you how to protect yourself from ID theft when using the ATM.

Identity thieves are using the skimming method more and more and are stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from account holders.  They will often place multiple skimmers at various locations and then try to take them down before anyone becomes suspicious.  They are often caught after getting too greedy to steal too much information but the card holder’s information has already been sold to 3rd parties.  Sometimes the information retrieved from the card skimmers is even used to make a “fake” card that someone else will use at the mall or to make a large purchase online.

ATM skimmers are devices that hackers use to record your debit or credit card information, and they can even record your PIN number.  These skimmers often look like the regular slot into which you are supposed to slide your card, but there are subtleties to look for that should put up some red flags.  Often the ATM card skimmers will look just like the real thing, but will go over the existing skimmer and will stick out a little.  If you use the same ATM machine on a regular basis you should know that something does not look right when you examine the card slot.

Examine the card slot carefully

There are always tell-tale signs that an ATM skimmer has been installed.  Since these devices are installed quickly in order not to arouse suspiscion, thieves will often use glue to adhere the skimmer to the existing ATM card slot.  Look for any glue drippings around the card slot if something doesn’t look right, and don’t be afraid to tug on the card reader to make sure it does not come off.   Upon inspection you may even find some sticky glue residue around the keypad or card reader even though the skimmer is no longer there, and that is a sign that hackers have targeted that ATM before and you need to be extra careful.

Examine all around the ATM machine for anything out of place

You need to be a detective here.  Look for any objects that seem like they don’t belong there.  Hackers will use soda cans, bubble gum packs and other objects to hide tiny cameras that can record your PIN number and any other identifiable information about you.  So that piece of trash on top of the ATM might seem innocuous, but your detective skills should still check it out.  If you do find a camera or card skimmers in use you should contact the police immediately.

Cover up that PIN number

I always make it a practice to cover up my PIN number when using an ATM.  Sometimes high definition cameras can be hidden far away to record your 4 digit number and you don’t want any thief to know these digits to go along with your ATM card so use two hand if you need to.  Even if you have people standing behind you waiting to use an ATM machine you should be as careful as possible so as not to reveal your PIN.

Leave a Comment