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Posted on June 6, 2016 by in Business, ID Protection Tips & Awareness, Safeguarding Customers

Withdrawing cash or depositing checks at an ATM should be a simple, familiar task on a typical to-do list. But for thieves, it’s becoming a major way to steal identities and account funds.

Per a report in The Wall Street Journal, criminals are stealing card data from ATMs at the highest rate in two decades. Security compromises of debit card data that are traced to ATM fraud continues to rise exponentially, , and many experts believe it will keep soaring upward.

How are criminals cracking ATM security? Many are using devices known as “skimmers,” which are placed over actual ATM components. When a customer inserts an ATM card into the phony reader, a hidden camera or fake keypad records the customer’s personal identification number (PIN).

Top Tips for Preventing ATM Fraud

Here are some of our top tips to help your customers protect themselves from ATM fraud – from being on the lookout for skimmers to asking other precautions – that can keep debit card information safe:

  • Look for skimmers:Unfortunately, the reason skimmers work so well is that they are undetectable to many users, per the FBI’s page on skimming. But there are some telltale signs, including loose, crooked or damaged parts, as well as adhesive tape or glue residue. If something doesn’t look right at an ATM, we recommend using an alternative machine for your banking needs.
  • Cover your PIN:Many skimmers capture PINs through hidden cameras. Advising customers to cover their hand as you enter your number can be a good precaution, and now many ATMs do have an attached shield around the keypad to help thwart malicious behavior
  • Use an ATM that’s inside a bank or store:The FBI notes that outdoor ATMs are more at risk for skimming, since criminals have better access for installing the devices and can escape detection more easily.
  • Watch out in tourist areas:ATM fraud is more prevalent in locations where people are traveling, especially since they’re less likely to check their daily bank account balances.
  • Reduce frequency of visits:The more your customers visit ATMs, the more you risk exposure. Advise them to try bundling banking tasks together so that they use ATMs less frequently. When they can use a teller instead of an ATM, opt for the face-to-face transaction.
  • Check account activity between statements:If your customers are not already glancing through their bank account activity on a regular basis, now is the time to start. Reviewing accounts online at least once a week will help spot possible skimming or ATM fraud Also, a quick reminder: Never check online accounts when using public Wi-Fi or other potentially insecure connections.
  • Look for skimmers in other locations:Although ATMs are a major target for criminals, skimmers have also showed up in retail locations and at gas pumps. If a device looks suspicious, use a different payment method – cash.

There’s no need for your customers to avoid ATMs altogether. Encouraging them to increase their ATM security by staying aware of their surroundings and protecting their r information whenever possible, could be what helps to prevent a thief from cashing in.