ATM & Debit Card Safety

ATM Skimming – What you need to know

Here is a quick lesson on how to protect yourself from the latest ATM scam called “skimming.” Thieves are looking for your ATM or debit card number and your PIN. If they can capture both, they can access your account.

Top Two Tips

  • Examine the ATM: Never enter your PIN in an ATM that doesn’t look genuine or has been modified.
  • Protect your card number: Thieves may place a thin reading device into or around the card slot to capture the data in the card’s magnetic strip.
    What you need to know: If it’s hard to insert your card, if the surface is sticky, or if the slot is scratched, it might contain a reader. Leave and report what you saw to the ATM owner.
  • Protect your PIN: If they have your card data, next they need your PIN.
    What you need to know: There are multiple ways to hide a tiny camera on or near an ATM, such as in the light panel or brochure holder. Make it a habit to use your free hand to cover your PIN every time you enter it.

See the picture below for details on possible devices.
Source: FBI

FBI ATM Skimming Graphic
    Protect your PIN (Personal Identification Number)
  • Use your free hand to shield the key pad as you enter your PIN.
  • Choose a PIN that is unique. Do not choose an obvious number.
  • Never write down your PIN, especially in your checkbook or on your cards.
  • Do not share your PIN or account number with anyone.
  • Never give your PIN over the phone, especially cell phones.
    Check out the environment as you approach the ATM
  • Avoid facilities in dark or remote places.
  • Avoid free standing ATMs on street corners.
  • Use familiar ATMs. It is best to use an ATM at a financial institution.
  • Avoid ATMs in areas where bystanders that seem to be loitering rather than conducting business.
  • If someone takes an interest in your transaction, leave the area and report suspicious behavior to the police.
  • When using a drive-through ATM, keep all doors locked and all windows up, except as needed.
    Be prepared to conduct your transaction when you approach the ATM
  • Have your card ready and know what transaction or transactions you want to conduct.
  • Shield the screen and keypad with your body as you use the ATM to prevent others from seeing your PIN.
  • Remove your cash, receipt and card after every transaction. Never leave receipts behind.
  • Have any deposits prepared before you approach the ATM. Make sure the ATM envelope has been accepted.
  • Secure any cash you withdraw before leaving the machine.
    Do not help anyone with a perceived problem with an ATM
  • If there is a perceived problem with the ATM, do not use it. Do not help anyone who says they may be affected by any such problem. Instead, leave the area and contact the police immediately as this person is most likely a fraudster, attempting to obtain your card information, or cause you financial harm.
  • Likewise, if your card is captured by an ATM, do not accept help from anyone who may offer it. Instead, leave the area and cancel your card right away.
    Report lost, stolen, compromised, or captured cards immediately!
  • Examine your statements promptly to identify unauthorized transactions.
  • If you believe that your card and/or PIN has been lost, stolen, compromised, captured by an ATM, or that someone has transferred or may transfer money from your account without your permission, call 410-272-4000, or toll-free 1-800-225-2555, and press 7.