When you’re traveling this summer, Better Business Bureau® encourages you to use extra caution when using debit/credit cards.
According to a FICO report, 20 states saw an increase in ATM skimming cases from 2010 to 2012. Colorado had a 1.9 percent increase over the three years while Wyoming experienced no significant change.
Skimming devices can be installed on ATM machines and at gas pumps. Once consumers swipe their card through the fake reader, their account information is collected by the criminals. In addition, these thieves can even use hidden cameras to record the consumer inputting their personal identification number. A blank card can then be encoded to withdraw money from the victim’s account.
To avoid a skimming attack on your account, the FBI has the following tips:
Inspect - Inspect the ATM, gas pump or credit card reader before using it. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked or damaged. Also, check for any scratches or tape residue on the scanning device.
Block - When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
Use wisely - If possible, use an ATM at an inside location where criminals are less likely to have installed skimming devices.
Plan carefully - Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas. They are a popular target for criminals.
Contact - If you use a machine that takes your credit card and have trouble retrieving it after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.
Additionally, BBB recommends that consumers:
Monitor accounts. Monitor your bank statements regularly to make sure all transactions are correct. You can sign up for certain alerts on your account if you feel it is necessary.
Notify your bank when you’re out of town. Alert your financial institutions and credit card company if you will be out of town – and especially out of the country.
Create a one-of-a-kind PIN. Create a PIN that’s difficult to break. Consider changing your access code on a regular basis if you think your account may be vulnerable to criminal activity.
Report fraud immediately. Report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it. Consumer protection for your debit and credit cards vary, but depend largely on the timeline in which the incident occurred and when you report it.
Start With Trust. Visit wynco.bbb.org for additional consumer tips and information.