ATMs are supposed to provide a secure, convenient option to fulfill basic banking needs, but scammers have found a way to take advantage of these handy machines. Users are vulnerable to ATM skimmers - secretive devices that copy information from ATM users. According to Yahoo.com, the US Secret Service estimates that ATM skimming accounts for nearly $1 billion in theft. Sophisticated technology makes it impossible to be completely confident in an ATM, but bankers can protect themselves from financial fraud and learn the red flags that indicate a potential skimming threat.
Look for the signs Banks go to great lengths to establish secure ATMs, so you should heed any inkling a machine has been compromised. Before you begin your transaction, pull on the card slot to ensure stability. If the slot wiggles or slides at all, there's a chance it is a skimming device designed to copy your debit-card number. Not all ATM thieves have the technology to steal card information directly, but that doesn't deter them from trying to collect pin numbers. Check the top of ATM for cameras pointed toward the pin pad. Hackers have also been known to place fake keys over the real ones. Before you enter your pin number, check to ensure the pin pad is secure. Tourist ATMs are prime candidates targets for skimmers because of heavy traffic and lack of security. Take extra precaution before using these machines, and protect your debit card through a reliable identity protection service.
Protect your identity Even with diligent security checks, your banking information is vulnerable to skimmers and fraudulent techniques. Short of keeping your money under the mattress, it's difficult to protect digital attacks completely. For this reason, third-party companies have come along side consumers to protect their identities. Fraud protection companies offer personal identity protection, including constant financial monitoring, 24-hour support and comprehensive identity-recovery techniques. You may not be able to detect skimming or other forms of identity theft, but investing in financial security will reduce risk and promote a smooth recovery in the event that your identity is compromised.
Be smart with your card Skimming and other fraud techniques may compromise certain information, but with safe debit- and credit-card habits, you can prevent thieves from gaining access to sensitive information. When using an ATM, cover the pad while entering your pin number, effectively eliminating the threat of overhead cameras and protecting yourself from curious onlookers.
Online shopping is a great way to find a steal, but the Internet is a popular feeding ground for identity thieves. Verify that an online store is legitimate before entering your credit-card information. Search the name of the website and research if previous customers have been scam victims. If you think you're the victim of identity theft, call your bank and cancel the compromised card immediately. Most banks offer identity theft protection, and law enforcement may be able to catch the thief.