AG warning: ATM skimmer scams on the rise

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ATM PIN capture overlay device pulled back to reveal the legitimate PIN entry pad.
ATM PIN capture overlay device pulled back to reveal the legitimate PIN entry pad.

MANCHESTER, NH — Deputy Banking Commissioner Ingrid E. White and Attorney General Joseph A. Foster urge New Hampshire consumers to be vigilant following a concerning increase in Automated Teller Machine (“ATM”) card skimming frauds.

ATM card skimming fraud involves the attachment of electronic devices on or around an ATM to illegally collect data from the magnetic strip of the card, while hidden cameras are also installed to capture the personal identification number entered by the customer. These electronic devices used to capture the information vary in design, size, and shape, and look similar to legitimate devices. In some cases, criminals situate themselves near a compromised ATM and capture card data using a wireless device that is sometimes plugged into the network cables of the ATM’s phone or internet connection.

Often the criminals install the device for only a short period of time to avoid detection. Card skimming is an industry-wide issue and not unique to one type of ATM. Therefore, consumers should monitor their accounts and report suspicious activity.

  • How to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of ATM card skimming
  • Check all ATMs and other card-reading devices before use. Signs of card skimmers
  • The ATM cover looks loose;
  • Scratches or sticky tape residue which might indicate a false ATM front;
  • A pinhole on the machine which could indicate a camera has been installed;
  • An extra keypad layered over the ATM’s keypad; and
  • Try jiggling the card reader – if it moves, it could be a card skimmer.
  • Opt for ATMs inside buildings and in high traffic areas as these are harder for criminals to target.
  • Cover the keys when entering your pin.
  • If you have a choice, opt for credit (or using your debit card as credit) to prevent
    criminals from gaining access to your pin.
  • Be more aware on weekends because criminals are more likely to install skimmers after a bank or credit union has closed, making it harder for consumers to report a problem.
  • If an ATM looks suspicious in any way, don’t use it. Report it to the bank or police.
  • Check your bank statement as soon as you receive it and report any suspicious entries to your bank or credit card company.

If you become a victim of ATM card skimming, you should:

  • Contact your bank immediately to report any suspicious activity on your account.
  • Continue to monitor you credit report – criminals may continue to use your information.
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit
    records: 1-800-766-0008 1-888-397-3742 1-877-322-8228

Consumers can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office or by calling the Consumer Hotline at 1-888-468-4454.

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!