It is Identity Theft Awareness Week thru this Friday and Consumer Protection is offering tips to New Yorkers on how to spot a potential skimming scam.
One scam the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is alerting New Yorkers is a credit and debit card skimming scam where thieves will place a “skimming” device on ATMs, gas station pumps and other unattended payment terminals to then steal your card information.
The skimmers are placed over or inside card reading machines at legitimate retailers and will directly copy card and pin information. Once the information is copied the thieves can then use the stolen information to withdraw funds, make illegal purchases or commit other forms of fraud.
The FBI report financial institutions and consumers pay over $1 billion dollars from skimming scams.
“Countless New Yorkers use credit cards and debit cards for everyday purchases, and they should not have to worry about unscrupulous individuals stealing their information or their hard-earned money,” said New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection. “I urge all New Yorkers to stay informed and pay close attention for signs of tampering when using an ATM, gas station pump or other card reading machine to help protect themselves against these scams.”
Consumers can protect themselves from the potential sneaky scam by looking for the signs of a potential skimming scam. Those tips are:
- Inspect the card reading machine for an overlay device. Check for unusual set-ups including abnormal bulkiness, any residues, different color, material or shape. Check to see if it’s loose around the card reader. If it moves, consider using another machine.
- Check the keypad. Thieves may place a phony keypad overlay to store keystrokes. If the buttons look or feel different, don’t use it.
- Choose your ATM location wisely. Machines located inside banks or indoor locations are much more secure than an ATM located on the street where anyone can access it.
- Look for any hidden cameras. Thieves often place cameras near the vicinity in order to record PIN numbers. The camera may be mounted at the top or in the ceiling of a terminal. Protect yourself by shielding the PIN pad when entering a PIN number. Use your hand and/or body to cover your PIN when you type it in.
- Review your bank and credit card statements regularly. Victims are often unaware of fraudulent charges or activities until the next attempted purchase or account review. It’s important to frequently monitor your accounts for unauthorized charges.