Beware of ATM Scams | CreditShout

Beware of ATM Scams

By Kevin / February 10, 2009


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Since the day that the automatic teller machines were invented, there have been dishonest people trying to find ways to scam the innocent credit card or debit card holder out of their hard earned money. Learn about the ATM scams and follow the advice below so that you do not become their next victim.

Switching the Swiping Device

Most people feel pretty comfortable when using the ATM since it is normally inside of a bank. There are magnetic swiping devices that you must swipe your card through at the door of the building in order to even gain access to the ATM in the foyer, so it feels safe. Criminals can replace these magnetic swiping devices with a fraudulent one that records your information and looks like an exact replica.

Most consumers do not really know the difference in swiping devices anyway, so this usually tricks the debit card holder. Once inside and using your credit card for cash advance through the ATM, the installed hidden cameras will record you typing in your PIN number for the crook to use in the future to steal funds from your account.

Creating a False Frontage

Another way that criminals can steal your information is by creating a false frontage to the ATM. It is simply an attachment to the real ATM front that will retain your credit or debit card and give an error message for you to contact the bank during business hours. There could be a hidden surveillance camera to capture your PIN, or some criminals will stand nearby in order to “assist” you by suggesting that you should just try the PIN number again. Unsuspecting ATM users will appreciate the compassion from a stranger and think nothing of typing in their access code once more. As soon as the card holder has left, the criminal can retrieve and use the credit or debit card because they now know the access code, too.

Hacking into the System

Criminal activity can take place by using a Wi-Fi Scanner or other hacking device to crack transaction data from freestanding ATMs. An internet access scanner can be used if the machine’s security has been compromised, like in such places as airports and bus stations. Sometimes interference can hinder the security if the encryption software fails to protect the system. This type of ATM scam is highly used by the most intelligent and computer savvy criminals.

Placing a Fake Deposit Receptacle

This is one of the first types of ATM scams and one that criminals are still using today. As unlikely as it seems, the thief will place a fake deposit receptacle inside one of the ATM vestibules and attach a sign that tells the unsuspecting ATM user that the machine is out of order. The sign will state that the bank has placed the receptacle for their customer’s convenience for making deposits, since the ATM machine is inoperable. It seems that our society would be smarter than to fall for such a thing, but since they are in a financial institute and the deposit box has a padlock, it clearly appears to be a safe way for them to make their deposit.

Follow these additional safety tips, so that you can remain safe when using the ATM and keeping your PIN number safe.

  • Watch your back and know who is standing behind you and possibly taking down your information.
  • Shield the keyboard that you are using to input your PIN number.
  • If you go to a freestanding ATM at night, be aware of parked cars or lurking people in the area.
  • Never attempt to catch the crook yourself, contact the authorities to go after these sinister and unlawful people.
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