Better Business Bureau Advises ATM Skimming and Other Card Scams Cost Consumers

June 05, 2013

Grand Rapids, MI  May 29, 2013 ATM card skimming is an ongoing problem. Thankfully, few crimes are on the scale of the recent theft of $45 million from ATM machines in 26 countries, accomplished through hacking and deletion of withdrawal limits. However, there are more and more smaller scale ATM scams impacting consumers virtually every day. These may range from hacking into financial systems to installing false card reading devices at point-of-sale terminals.

Before getting money out at the ATM or filling up your gas tank, the Better Business Bureau serving Western Michigan (BBB) advises consumers to protect PIN numbers and take a minute to inspect the machine before swiping a credit or debit card.

To help reduce ATM skimming, the BBB offers the following tips:

  • Inspect the ATM – Avoid using ATMs in poorly lit or low trafficked areas. Experts often recommend choosing a bank ATM over stand-alone ATMs in public places. Look for new or suspiciously placed cameras and unusual signage. Don’t hesitate to walk away and use another ATM if something appears out of the ordinary.

  • Protect your PIN – When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to protect your private information from any potential cameras in the vicinity. Periodically change your PIN.

  • Monitor your statements – Even the most careful person can fall victim to skimmers. Keep a close eye out for suspicious charges on the itemized breakdown of your accounts. Through your financial institution, you can also sign up for alerts that will notify you when certain types of transaction occur.

  • Report fraud immediately – Report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it. Consumer protections for debit and credit cards vary but depend largely on when the fraudulent activity is reported. If you wait too long to report the fraud, your bank account could be cleaned out and your bank might not reimburse you.

  • Consider using an RFID sleeve- Many credit/debit cards and driver's licenses contain RFID chips with personal data. By using this sleeve, you can keep your personal data secure by preventing unauthorized access.

If you experience or have experienced a scam, report it to your local BBB at

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As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.