ATM Skimmer Scams

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The New York State Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection is warning consumers to be alert when using ATMs.  Scammers are using devices called “skimmers” to steal financial information from consumers’ credit and debit cards.  Scammers attach the device to ATMs and card readers that take the digital information from the magnetic strip of the bank or credit card of any person who swipes their card at the terminal.  Often, the scammer will also set up a hidden camera nearby to steal the user’s pin number.  Due to the changes in ATM card security, scammers are trying their best to hack as many cards as possible!  

Here are some tips to keep in mind to protect yourself when using the ATM:

  • Use an ATM that is inside a bank as much as possible. Try to avoid low traffic or low light areas because they are less secure then bank ATMs.
  • Please protect your PIN number. Try to cover the keypad with your hand or a piece of paper to prevent people from stealing your information.
  • Look for skimmers.  Are there any odd wires sticking out of the ATM? Is there tape or tape residue on the slot? Is the reader an “off” color compared to the ATM?  If so, don’t use that ATM!  
  • Be cautious of ATM failures. If the machine doesn’t give you money, or gives you an error message, call your financial institution and let them know.
  • Report any problems. Only call a number you know is real, such as the one on the back of your bank card.  Don’t call a number posted on an ATM, because it can be a part of the scam.  If you aren’t sure, call the police non-emergency number.