Skip to Content
Close Icon

Beware of Skimmers

Skimming Fraud on the Rise

BANK offers five tips to help consumers avoid skimming fraud

A recent investigation by FICO found that in 2022, card skimming in the United States surged by 500%. Natalie Reinhart, BANK’s BSA Officer, wants to ensure that consumers are aware of how to prevent falling victim to skimming fraud given the significant increase in activity over the past year.

What is skimming?

Skimming is a technique used by identity thieves to electronically capture a victim's personal information (such as a credit or debit card number and personal identification number or PIN) and use it to steal money from the victim. Skimmers are tools that are installed on gas pumps, ATMs, and other card readers. Data from the magnetic stripe on credit or debit cards can be stolen using these devices. The cardholder's bank account is then unlawfully accessed using that information. Pinhole cameras are another tool used by scammers to capture the victim inputting their PIN. The FBI calculates that skimming costs consumers and banking institutions more than $1 billion annually.

5 Tips to Avoid Skimming Fraud

By taking the following steps, you can lessen your anxiety and stress about skimming as you use your cards every day:

Search for evidence of tampering. Before using any ATM or card reader, carefully inspect it. Examine the card reader, the screen, and the keyboard for anything unusual, such as alignment concerns between the card reader and the panel below. Skimmers can occasionally be positioned over the card reader itself, making them stand out oddly. To make sure the reader isn't loose, gently move it as well.

Be cautious when using card readers. To prevent cameras from recording your entry, the FBI advises pulling at the sides of a keypad before entering a pin and concealing the keypad. Additionally, only use ATMs in well-lit, indoor areas.

Adopt modern technology. Use debit and credit cards with a chip implanted, or those that are contactless. Instead of sending your name, billing address, CVV code, or ZIP code with the transaction, these cards generate a special, one-time-use number. Chipped and contactless cards offer an additional degree of security because there are fewer tools that can steal chip data than magnetic stripe data, even though they are not entirely impenetrable.

On vacation, stay away from the ATM. When you're on the road, use your credit card or get the cash you'll need from a dependable source before you go.

Keep tabs on your balances. Look for unfamiliar transactions when using online banking. Your bank can act as soon as you report fraudulent charges, so act quickly.

Skimming is a very real threat, according to BSA Officer Natalie Reinhart. "While most banks, including BANK, go to great lengths to protect their clients, consumers can take a few easy actions to better protect themselves. It's crucial to keep a look out for anything unusual and to notify your bank right away.”