Financial Fraud Prevention: Don’t Get Scammed by a Skimmer

Financial Fraud tips from Dane County Credit Union
Beware of Skimming Scams

How often do you go to the ATM to withdraw cash? If you’re like me, and don’t like to carry much paper money on your person, probably a handful of times a month. While withdrawing from an ATM is generally a mindless activity, this summer saw a rise in skimming devices found on ATMs in the Madison area. In fact, just this past May, a skimming device was removed from an Associated Bank ATM on Monroe Street.

What’s a skimming device?

A skimming device fits over the card slot reader on an ATM, and captures your card’s data, like account number and name, from its magnetic strip. It’s one half of the tools involved in ATM skimming, which is when someone illegally copies your debit card information, and uses it to withdraw money from your account. The other is a pinhole camera, which is usually installed above the keypad, or on the side of the keypad. The pinhole camera records your PIN as you enter it.

While this is the most common ATM skimming method, another one does exist: The PIN overlay device, which is a keypad that lays directly over the real ATM keypad, records your PIN as you enter it.

How can you avoid becoming an ATM skimming victim?

Always go to an ATM that’s well lit, and limit your number of visits. If you can use an ATM inside of a financial institution or any other place of business, that’s even safer, as a camera will likely be installed nearby.

When you’re using an ATM, give the machine a good look and make sure nothing is unusual; this sounds simple, and it is. Be on the lookout for any glue residue, exposed wires or pieces of double sided tape, as skimming devices, generally speaking, will stick out from the ATM.

Be sure to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN, to keep anyone and anything from seeing it, and be sure to monitor your account online on a regular basis, to catch any transactions that looks unfamiliar.

What if you fall victim to ATM skimming?

Contact Dane County Credit Union as soon as possible, and we’ll have your card shut down — don’t worry, we’ll work with you to get a new one. We’ll also ask you to fill out  a debit card dispute form, which will allow us to give back the funds that you lost from the fraudulent transactions.

Remember: You are NOT liable for any fraud that takes place on your account, as long as you report it to Dane County Credit Union in a timely manner. Be safe out there, folks!


Published by

Tom S.

Tom is a 2006 graduate of UW Madison, currently residing in Verona with his wife and 2 girls. He has been passionate about writing ever since he was 15 years old, and displays that same enthusiasm in his work today. When he’s not sharing insightful financial wisdom, you can find Tom chilling on the Union Terrace, enjoying craft beer at the Great Dane, or hiking at Governor Nelson State Park. In the Fall he loves to take his family to Badger Football games!