Protect yourself from card skimmers

All across the country, identity thieves have been targeting ATMs and gas station pumps using a technique called card skimming.

So how do they do it? Working quickly and discreetly, thieves cover the card reader with a nearly identical skimmer. Then, by setting up a pinhole camera or magnetic device nearby, they can capture PIN numbers being entered on the keypad. As people use the machine, the devices capture their card info and PINs, giving the thief all they need to use their accounts for purchases. Their victims may be unaware their info has been stolen until unfamiliar transactions show up on their accounts.

Scott Credit Union has procedures in place in an effort to prevent skimming activity from occurring. There are also things that you can do to help protect yourself from identity theft at ATMs and gas station pumps.

Test the card reader

Before inserting your card, lightly pull on the card reader or give it a gentle twist. Usually, a tiny bit of pressure is all it takes to remove one of these skimming devices, revealing the real card reader underneath. If the skimmer comes off, please contact the local authorities immediately and alert the business or financial institution.

Hide the keypad

Even if a skimming device scans your debit card, they still need your PIN to use it. As you key in your PIN, always cover the keypad with your other hand to block any cameras from viewing the numbers as you type.

Monitor your account frequently

If a skimmer is found at a Scott Credit Union ATM, we’ll use our machine’s transaction records to notify anyone who may have been affected as soon as possible. We’ll make sure all these compromised accounts are made right again. However, if you fall victim to skimmers in other locations, such as a gas station pump or another financial institution’s machine, SCU won’t know anything happened unless you tell us. Be sure to check your account often, and report any bogus transactions to the credit union right away. This is an especially important tip considering that identity thieves are always coming up with new ways to steal info. Keeping an eye on your account is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

For more tips on avoiding identity theft, visit our Security page.