Learn How to Identify Threatening Card Skimmers

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 in Security and Fraud Prevention

According to an analysis by FICO, card skimming increased by 500% in 2022. With such a large increase in activity over the past year, United Bank & Trust wants to make sure consumers know how to avoid becoming a victim of skimming fraud before they hit the road for their holiday travels.

What is Skimming?

Skimming is an electronic method of capturing a victim’s personal information, such as credit or debit card numbers and personal identification numbers. Identity thieves use these pieces of information to steal the victim’s funds and identities.

Skimmers are devices that are installed on ATMs and other credit card readers, such as gas pumps. The skimmers allow thieves to collect the data off the magnetic stripe on credit or debit cards. That information is then used to illegally access the cardholder’s bank accounts. Fraudsters also use pinhole cameras that can record the victim entering their PIN.

Learn How to Identify Threatening Card Skimmers

The FBI estimates that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers nationwide more than $1 billion each year, and rates are continuing to increase.

5 Tips to Avoid Skimming Fraud

The holidays are for reconnecting with family and friends. Reduce the worry and stress over skimming as you head out for your holiday travels by taking the following precautions:

  • Look for signs of tampering. Carefully inspect any ATM or card reader before you use it. Look for anything out of the ordinary with the card reader, its screen, or its keyboard. Abnormalities may include alignment issues with the card reader and the panel underneath. Sometimes skimmers are placed over the actual card reader, causing them to stick out in an odd way. Gently wiggle the card reader to make sure it’s not loose.
  • Exercise precaution when using card readers. The FBI suggests pulling at the edges of a keypad before entering a PIN and covering the keypad to prevent cameras from recording your entry. You should also only use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location.
  • Rely on new technology. Use contactless debit and credit cards or those with a chip. These types of cards create a unique, one-time-use code for the transaction instead of sending your name, billing address, CVV code, or ZIP code. While not completely foolproof, chipped and contactless cards provide an extra layer of protection, as there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data.
  • Avoid using the ATM when you’re away from home. Use a credit card when you’re traveling or withdraw cash from a trusted and known source before you hit the road for your holiday travels.
  • Monitor your balances. Keep an eye out for suspicious transactions using online banking. The sooner you report fraudulent charges, the sooner your bank can take action.

“Skimming can be a very real threat,” Jeremy Bristow, Senior Operations Officer at United Bank & Trust said. “While most banks, including United Bank & Trust, do everything they can to protect their customers, consumers can help protect themselves further with a few simple precautions. It’s important to keep an eye out for anything suspicious and immediately report it.”

If you think your United Bank & Trust account may have been compromised through fraudulent activity, report it immediately by contacting us at (641) 753-5900.

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