Credit and Debit Card Skimming Theft - TIps To Avoid PIN Hijacking By Criminals at ATMs

Connecticut, Dec 6, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / PRUrgent) Criminals have found a way to hijack your debit card and PIN number at an ATM by “skimming” your card. Skimming involves illegal use of a device that a criminal slips into the card reader slot of an ATM or gas pump that can record information from the black magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards.

That information can be picked up by the criminal hours later when they retrieve the skimming device. The skimmed information also can be transmitted wirelessly by text messaging. In some cases, a hidden video camera is focused on the keypad to record the user’s Personal Identification Number (PIN).

Connecticut Better Business Bureau President. Paulette Scarpetti, says the criminals are capitalizing on consumers’ reliance on banking technology.

“Holiday shopping drives many consumers to use their cards more often. Heavy traffic at standalone ATMs and gas pumps provides many opportunities to skim information from the back of users’ debit and credit cards.”

Skimming gives card users an important incentive to keep a watchful eye for suspicious charges that may appear on bank or credit card statements.

The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself and even identify card readers outfitted with skimmers:

•Examine the machine’s card slot: Check to see if it has been compromised. If there is plastic sticking out or anything unusual near the card reader, don’t use it.

•Use your credit card at the gas pump instead of your debit card: If your card is skimmed, you can contact your credit card company and it will remove the fraudulent charges. However, if money is stolen directly from your bank account with a debit card, it could take considerable time and effort to be reimbursed.

•Avoid using ATMs that are not located at a bank: These ATMs are often less secure and thieves have more opportunity to tamper with them.

•If your card gets stuck in machine, do not leave the area: Call your bank right away to report the problem.

•Monitor your accounts often for suspicious activity: The sooner you detect fraud, the easier it will be to resolve it quickly and stop any more fraudulent charges.

- prurgent