Card skimming: How to spot ATM skimmers and avoid losing all your money – TomoNews

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DES PLAINES — Police in Des Plaines, Illinois recently reported that a Walgreens ATM was fitted with devices meant to steal people’s banking information.

These skimming devices have been spotted at ATMS and even in gas pumps across the U.S. But how to avoid them?

According to the FBI, ATM skimmers are card readers fitted over the machine’s card slot that copy personal data from the card’s magnetic strip.

The user’s PIN is recorded using either a pinhole camera hidden on the ATM, or captured by a fake keypad placed over the real one.

PC Mag reports that the first step to spotting a skimmer is to check for signs of tampering. Be wary of differences between machines that are side by side — for example if one has a flashing indicator and the other does not.

Push and pull at any protruding parts to see if they are securely attached and have only one piece.

Skimmers can only read the magnetic strip if the card is inserted in a single, straight motion, so experts suggest wiggling the card as it goes in to foil the skimmer.

When using credit cards, avoid transactions that necessitate swiping the magstrip. Instead, use EMV chip readers and NFC or tap to pay, which are more secure and harder to hack.

If you do realize your card has been skimmed, or notice any suspicious activity on your account, alert your bank. You can still get your money back as long as the theft is reported immediately.

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