Before Using An ATM, The 1 Thing You Should Always Check Before Inserting Your Card
Cailyn Finkel 8/9/2017
In today's digital age, the idea of withdrawing money with the help of a bank teller seems ancient. Nowadays, we stroll right up to an ATM and handle all of our financial needs!
Unfortunately, there are those that take advantage of the system, and they don't need to approach a teller or hold you up personally. All they do is attach a device called an "ATM skimmer" and sit back while technology handles it all...
A skimmer is a device that's hooked up to the card slot on an ATM, gas station pump or any item that can read credit card numbers via the magnetic strip. To access your pin number, these thieves use a variety of methods such as a hidden camera, special keypad or other advanced pieces of technology.
This may seem like something out of a spy novel, but it's happening today all over the globe! Thankfully, there's a relatively simple way to see if there's a skimmer attached to your ATM.
Now that you know exactly what credit card skimmers are and how they operate, it's time to learn what you need to do to protect yourself.
Follow these steps if you're concerned that a skimmer is hooked up to your ATM or gas pump.
- First, try tugging on the card reader a bit.
- See if it moves around at all - if so, do not insert your card and call authorities immediately.
- Skimmers are usually attached during the evening, so try to only use ATMs during the daylight hours.
If the card reader seems stable, you're probably good to go. But be sure to use these basic ATM tips in day-to-day life:
- Be sure to cover the pin pad with your hand so strangers can't figure out your specialized pin number.
- Never write down your pin number. Memorize it before using the card.
- Always keep the receipt from each transaction and put your money away quickly.
- If you drive up to an ATM, be sure your doors are locked and your windows are up. This will help prevent an attack if criminals are waiting just out of sight.
- If anyone follows you after a transaction, walk to a heavily populated area and call the police.
Thieves with card skimmers can wipe out your bank account in a matter of seconds, so it's important to stay aware! Be sure to pass this information along to friends and loved one so they are protected as well.