BBB Tips to Avoid Debit
and Credit Card Skimming
for Preventing Financial Identity Theft
TX - November 12, 2010 – BBB
reports that debit and credit card skimmers steal nearly $1 billion annually
from unsuspecting consumers, according to Bankrate.com. Alarmingly, Javelin
Strategy & Research experts estimate that one in five people have fallen
victim. Skimming occurs when a consumer’s credit or debit card information is
stolen as it is swiped at an ATM or card swipe machine.
thieves typically tamper with ATMs and card swipe machines in one of the two
following ways to steal card information and personal identification numbers
1) Thieves may attach
a card-reading device to the card slot of an actual ATM. The device will scan
and store the magnetic strip of each card that is inserted into the banking
2) Thieves may place
a hidden camera near the swipe machines to film the keypad and record each PIN
as it is entered.
the growing number of consumers victimized by this crime, BBB offers the
following five tips for using ATMs and card swiping machines:
- 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. Don’t hesitate to 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 PIN from any cameras in the vicinity. False keypads placed over the
real keypad are also a way scammers get PIN numbers so if the keypad looks
different, move on.
- Be Cautious of All Card Swiping
Devices - Criminals can also manipulate credit card swipe
machines at gas pumps and retailers. The hand-held card swiping devices which
are sometimes left unattended at restaurants, events and other public locations
can also be tampered. Take a careful look at any device before swiping your card.
- Monitor your Statements
– Even the most careful person can still fall victim to ATM skimmers so it is
important to keep a close eye on your accounts. Look for suspicious charges and
particularly the itemized breakdown of charges and debits.
- 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.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit BBB.
About Better Business Bureau:
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community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust,
encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models
and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
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Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high
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Contact BBB serving
Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas at (512) 445-4748.