There has been a rise in skimming fraud occurring across the country. To protect yourself, it’s important to understand how this scam works, and recognize signs to avoid becoming a victim.
A card skimmer is a device illegally installed on card readers to collect magnetic stripe information from credit, debit or ATM cards. The captured data can include your name, card number, expiration date and security (CVV) code. In some cases, the fraudster will add a microscopic camera or key logging device to capture additional information, such as a PIN number or security code.
Skimmers are often installed on self-service terminals like gas pumps, stand-alone ATMs or vending machines due to their lack of supervision. The criminals return at a later time to collect the devices and retrieve stolen information. There have also been instances involving the use of Bluetooth to retrieve data from card skimmers remotely. The fraudsters sell what they collect, or use it to make purchases or withdrawals.
Here are signs that it might be skimmer:
- Unusual damage to the card reader.
- Glue or adhesive marks on or around the card reader.
- Unusual brochure holders or plastic panels added above/near the card reader or PIN pad that could contain a camera.
- Unusual feeling keyboard or a keyboard that sits higher than usual.
- Unexpected malfunctions when using the card reader or ATM.
As skimming devices become more sophisticated, it can be difficult to tell if a terminal was tampered with. Because of this, it’s important to be proactive about fraud prevention:
- Monitor your accounts regularly. The quicker fraudulent transactions are detected, the sooner your financial institution can help. Monitor your accounts regularly with online, mobile or telephone banking and notify your financial institution immediately if you suspect fraud on your accounts.
- Avoid suspicious or unfamiliar card terminals or ATMs. Skimmers need to be manually installed, so the fraudster is likely to target less visible and low traffic locations.
- Inspect the terminal before swiping or inserting your card, and shield your PIN from view when entering it.
- Be aware of your surroundings and proximity to others.
If you find a skimming device, report it to local law enforcement right away. If you fall prey to ATM skimming or notice suspicious activity on your Merrimack accounts, please contact us as soon as possible so we can help protect your identity and accounts.