Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beware ATM skimming

Our Fraud Unit has been investigating some cases of skimmers used at ATMs in the Kansas City area. Skimmers are small devices placed directly on top of an ATM’s card-reading device. They’re designed to copy account information on the back of credit/debit cards when card holders conduct financial transactions at the ATM. Crooks must later physically remove the skimmers to download the stolen financial information. They can then use that information to steal money from a victim’s account or make fraudulent purchases.

The pictures above are of skimming devices discovered here. The photo on the top shows a normal ATM without a skimming device attached. The middle photo shows a clear, green, plastic skimmer attached to the card port. The photo on the bottom shows a different type of skimming device attached to the ATM’s card port.

Skimmers were designed for legitimate businesses to use to conduct credit and debit card transactions, but they can lead to theft if they fall into the wrong hands. They can look like they belong on ATMs, and the best way to tell if an illegal skimmer is present is to be observant. If you use the same ATM often, take note of what it looks like. If the card port looks different than normal, contact the bank as soon as possible. Also, keep a close eye on your financial statements for any purchases you didn’t make. If you see anything amiss, call police and report it to your bank immediately.

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