Why ATM Skimming is Harder to Detect

ATM-SkimmingProtecting personal information is always about learning the tricks of thieves who are trying to steal your identity. That means learning about the skimming devices and why these devices are often going undetected by individuals who use care when at the ATM. As technology improves, the risk of facing identity theft from using technology is increasing.

Protecting Identity

As the skimming devices become more high-tech, it is important to learn new ways of protecting your personal information from possible theft. A few protective measures are available that can help prevent identity theft from occurring.

The first measure to take to protect your personal information is investing in a fraud or theft protection solution, such as Lifelock. By registering and investing in in this service, it is easier to notice a theft before it gets out of control. The system will put a hold on accounts after noticing suspicious activity and alerts consumers to the odd purchases.

While the theft alert system is important to avoiding the out-of-pocket expenses after a theft, it is also vital to take measures to prevent the theft from occurring. Since skimming occurs at gas stations, restaurants and ATMs, it is important to look for anything odd before using the machine.

Camera Systems

As Ben Kersey points out, the skimming device is only able to take the information on the card. It is not enough to start making purchases or taking money out of other ATM machines. The PIN number is still a necessity for any ATM or debit card transaction.

While some attempted thieves are still using devices to obtain the information from the key pad, this type of system is possible for consumers to detect. The newest advances in small cameras have made it possible for the thief to steal information by recording the PIN as it is entered instead.

Thinner Devices

The skimming devices found in ATMs and other card readers have become less easy to notice. According to Ben Kersey, the key reason consumers are not noticing the device is that the thieves are using thinner skimmers.

When the skimming device is much thinner, it is not taking up enough space to catch the eye during a normal ATM or card transaction. As a result, the information is skimmed from the card and used by the thief.

Since the devices to skim information are a little harder to notice, due to the thinner designs, consumers should look for oddities on the key pad, small cameras or even glue around the card reader. These are all signs of a potential skimming device.

When entering a PIN number, always cover the keypad with the free hand to avoid giving the number to a hidden camera. Without the PIN, it is hard to use the information in stores or other ATM machines.

It is also more difficult to skim information from a card that is EMV (EuroPay, Mastercard, or Visa) than other bank cards because of its “chip or PIN” technology.

The changes to skimming technology require more caution when using an ATM machine or other card reading options. Since the technology used in skimming is allowing thinner devices and smaller cameras, consumers need to take protective measures against the possibility of theft. That means getting an EMV card, if it is available, investing in some form of monitoring and using measures to limit the risk of ATM skimming.

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Dean Walpole went to school for finance and minored in English. He is now a financial writer with a focus on the stock market.

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