DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers today issued an advisory warning consumers about ATM skimming, a scam in which thieves use a card swipe device to capture information on an ATM card.
In this scheme, thieves use a portable card-reading device or “skimmer” that fits unobtrusively over the ATM card slot. The device then records the data on the card’s magnetic strip. In some cases, thieves have also attached small cameras nearby to record consumers as they enter in their PINs.
“You can never be too careful. Even ATM machines are susceptible to tampering,” said Suthers. “If you notice anything suspicious about an ATM machine, walk away and report it to the bank and local law enforcement.”
Attorney General Suthers offered these tips to help prevent consumers from becoming victim to card skimming:
- Be wary of anything that looks out of the ordinary, such as odd-looking equipment or wires that seem to be out-of-place. (A false attachment on a tampered machine will extend out a few inches than normal.)
- Avoid using machines that have suspicious signs such as “No Tampering” or “Swipe your ATM here before inserting it in the card reader”.
- Protect your PIN number; cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
- If possible, conduct ATM transactions during daylight hours as most ATM theft occurs at night.
- Use ATMs with security cameras and machines located inside banks and other businesses as these are less likely to attract criminals.
- Be suspicious if your card is “eaten” by the machine or if someone approaches you to say that the same happened to them and advises you to re-enter your PIN.
- Regularly monitor your account balance and ATM transactions.
Some estimates indicate that ATM skimming led to nearly $3 billion in losses last year.
Suthers issued the advisory after receiving consumer complaints, specifically one in which a Coloradoan had been a victim of ATM skimming while on vacation.