Welcome back to our series on scams and frauds. At Robins Financial, we’re committed to
helping members learn how to stay protected, so we’re covering some of the most common
scams and frauds out there, so you’re better equipped to keep your
accounts and debit cards safe. So let’s talk about one of the worst. It’s called skimming. Here’s how it goes: You go to grab some cash at an ATM or make a quick purchase in a gas station convenience store, and you notice something looks
a little weird and clunky about the card slot. But, you figure it just needs some resurfacing. So, you carry on. When you enter your PIN, you also notice
the keys feel a little harder to press down than usual. But again, you don’t think much of it. A few days later, you realize your entire checking account has been emptied with unauthorized purchases. Here’s what happened: the card slot looked weird because someone placed a skimmer over the card reader and recorded your card info. Then, they recorded your PIN number
from the keypad with a keypad overlay device. And, voila. Just like that, some scammer has all the info
they need to empty your account. These skimming devices come in many forms, but are usually discreetly installed on the point-of-sale machine in the slot where your card is inserted. They may also install a tiny hidden camera
to record your PIN being entered visually, rather than with a keypad overlay. Since skimming devices are designed to look
identical to the actual card reader and keypad, they can be difficult to detect. An altered machine may have parts that are loose, crooked, damaged, or discolored from the rest of the machine. So, what are the important lessons here? If something doesn’t look or feel right with a card slot or a keypad, let somebody know and use a different machine. And choose machines that are well-lit and well-used, near the activity of a store or gas station,
rather than further away or in an isolated spot. And just to be safe, always use your other
hand to shield your PIN number as you enter it. You can never be too safe, whether it’s a
tiny camera, or even someone lurking nearby. In general, it’s always best to use ATMs at
your actual bank or credit union, and keep your guard up when using
point-of-sale or gas station card machines, especially when they don’t seem well tended. Be safe and smart out there. As the financial world continues to change, our commitment to member awareness
and financial education never wavers. The more information you have, the better
you can protect yourself, and your money.




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