Skimming devices are illegally installed pieces of equipment that are attached to ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or gas station fuel pumps by criminals in order to capture card data from users. This data is then used to create fake credit or debit cards to steal from victims accounts. Also called skimmers, these threats have existed for several years, but we are seeing an uptick in card skimming activity and want you to stay vigilant and protected. Main Street Bank employees are trained to check each Main Street Bank ATM each business day to ensure there are no illegal devices installed, for the protection of our customers. However, there are certain places where skimmers are more commonly found, such as gas stations and nonbank ATMs.
These are Main Street Bank’s tips on how to look for skimming devices when you are using public terminals.
Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Whenever you are using a public ATM, gas pump, or store register, look for abnormalities in the card slot. Check to see if anything looks unusual or suspicious about the machine. A few common clues to look for include:
- Inconsistent alignment between the card reader and the panel beneath it.
- Security tape or sticker on the panel is tampered with or broken, particularly at gas pumps.
- Something appears to be inserted inside the card reader already.
- The card slot is loose and can easily come out of place.
- The buttons on the machine are too hard to push.
If you notice any of these inconsistencies, don’t use that machine. If you do notice anything suspicious on a machine, do not try to remove anything. You may alert the attendant or employee on site if possible.
How to avoid card skimmers.
An effective way to protect yourself is by avoiding places where card skimming devices are usually found more often. When possible, try to o the following to protect yourself:
- Try to use only official bank ATMs and avoid nonbank machines typically found in convenience stores or bars.
- Cover your fingers with your other hand when entering your PIN to block potential cameras.
- Use your card’s EMV chip rather than swipe when available.
- Pay for gas inside rather than at the pump.
- Don’t hand your card to anyone at a cash register.
- Don’t give your card to credit card cleaner who claims to clean the card’s magnetic strip; this is often a scam.
How to protect your card and money.
Proactively monitoring your transactions and card activity is the best way to identify fraudulent transactions quickly and take action. Many solutions exist that can help you easily manage your credit or debit card activities:
- Sign up for card alerts that text and/or email you immediately when a transactions occurs – sign up for Main Street Bank account and debit card alerts.
- Utilize your credit or debit cards’ mobile controls to restrict transaction types, cancel your card if it goes missing, and alert companies to when you may be traveling.
- Enroll in online or mobile banking so you can check your bank account activity regularly, without waiting to receive your monthly statement.
If you suspect your card information has been skimmed, contact your credit card company or the card-issuing financial institution immediately. They may suggest re-issuing you a brand new card to avoid any potential loss.
When it comes to your Main Street Bank debit card, you can contact us during and after hours if your notice suspicious activity in your account. Your best course of action is to call us as soon as possible at 508-481-8300.