Friday, June 23, 2006

ATM Skimmers

My bank just emailed about a scam in our area. Three banks in Nashville have been victims of ATM skimmers in the last few weeks. These are devices placed over the existing slot on an ATM. They catch the magnetic strip information as the card passes through. At the same time, a small camera is placed near the keypad, such as on a brochure rack, that records your PIN as you key it in. Stay alert for unusually protruding slots or plastic trim which is a different color from the rest of the machine.

When I must use an ATM, I go to a grocery and use the free cash-back option at the checkout. Even if you have to buy a pack of gum, your total cost is still less than the typical ATM fee (plus, you get the gum!). It's safer, too--both from scammers and muggers.

12 comments:

Maria said...

That is hwat I do as well!

thehomespunheart said...

I'm glad to know about this as I use our closest ATM all the time. I use it to make deposits and other transactions since it is so much closer than the bank. I will keep my eyes open!

MoneyDummy said...

Our bank actually got busted with a similar scam, though the only victims were people who had used their debit cards overseas. It was very frightening, and because the crimes were perpetrated overseas, there was almost nothing the bank could do to recoup their losses.

My Boaz's Ruth said...

1. Our ATM is in a well-lit crowded shopping center. I don't expect to be at any more danger there than walking away from the grocery stand.

2. Our grocery stores resent being used as banks so have put a limit of $10 cash back from any purchase, even with a debit card.

3. What I do (and I suspect it would foil this) is any time I am putting my code in (ATM, grocery, street fair vendor) I cup my other hand just over the numbers and put the code in half by feel. (because recording the ATM code has been going on quite a while. Getting the magnetic stripe is just a new addition I hadn't heard of before)

My Boaz's Ruth said...

PS I've had a LOT more problems with having mail stolen from my mailbox. So be careful getting your check/bills at home (or posting outgoing mail there) Unless you have a lockable box (esp for outgoing)

(or use online banking for bills)

~Kayla~ said...

Will pass this along to the Hubster. I usually do the grocery store thing as well. He uses ATM's a bucnh!

Disney loving Frugal Mom said...

I refuse to pay for my money. I usually can get to my bank which happens to be at the store I shop at or I use the buy a pack of 25 cent gum. Also I am able to write a check at work for cash too. So that is always a plus. We do have a few free ATM's here but you have to know where to find them.

Mahthellin said...

I live in Atlanta. This happened to me about 6 - 8 months ago, probably at the ATM outside my bank, though no one can be sure. I'd heard reports of this on the news, and remember looking at the ATM and trying to decide if it looked a little different than usual. In the end, I decided it was okay. Interestingly, it was probably 6 weeks or more before the thieves used the cloned card. Everything they needed was on the magnetic strip - no one was standing over me reading my PIN #. The fraud department at my bank (Wachovia) picked up the unusual use of my card quickly, but the thieves got quite a bit of money. The bank also replaced the funds within days, so it only caused major inconvenience to me, but that was bad enough. I also hadn't realized that my ATM withdrawal limit was set so high for a single day, so I set the one on my new account far lower. The police department in one of the metro counties called me a couple of months ago to say they thought they were about to issue warrants, but I haven't heard any more about it. It is very sophisticated crime, but regularly using the same one or two ATMs and paying close attention to how they look is the best defense.

Mrs Blythe said...

We've had this over here in the Uk too, it's quite disconcerting! :o)

Jodi said...

I use the cash back at the store as well, and dh uses the ATM machine at his place of employment. Our bank has not reported issues at this point. There was a report that I believe John Stossel gave about this and its sad that the ATM techs can look the other way for a few bucks. :-(

Holly said...

Meredith,

I've not been by to say congratulations. She is simply beautiful!

I can relate to so much that you write about, from hormonal days to biliblankets...

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

shealuna said...

Don't always trust those little PIN pads at the check out int the grocery store, either! In my area, the news claimed that even those had occassionally been tampered with!