Protect Your Cards from Skimmers
Using your debit or credit cards is often much more convenient than carrying around large sums of cash. You may even feel safer with cards, knowing that if you lose your card, you have a PIN number as an added layer of security as well as the Robins Financial Card Guard app.
However, thieves may also attempt to steal your card information to access your money using a method known as “skimming.” Card skimming is when a fraudster steals your credit or debit card data, as well as the PIN number. They do this by placing a device called a “skimmer” over the card slot or keypad. With this information, a fraudster can essentially make a duplicate card. This type of fraud allows thieves to steal from your account or make purchases all over the world, even if you are still in possession of your card!
As part of our commitment to protecting the safety and security of our members, Robins Financial Credit Union constantly monitors our ATMs to check for skimming devices. But when using alternative ATMs or other point-of-purchase machines, there are tell-tale signs you can look out for to help you identify and avoid skimmers. These tips below will help you protect your cards against skimmers:
How to Spot a Card Skimmer
Skimming devices are intended to look exactly like the actual card reader and keypad, so that users unknowingly grant access to their card data with one single swipe. Be alert! Always be sure to inspect the point-of-purchase or the card reader and keypad before inserting your card, and never use a machine that appears to have been tampered with. Before you insert your card, you may want to check the following:
- Compare the machine you are using with another one nearby. If you notice any obvious differences, for example if one machine has a blinking light where a card is inserted and the other one is not flashing, do not use that machine.
- Look for any parts that appear loose, crooked, damaged, out of place, or discolored from the rest of the machine or others nearby.
- Give the card reader a quick pull or wiggle to make sure it’s secure. Take note if the card reader or keypad appear bulky or protrude from the rest of the machine. This could indicate that a false part has been placed over the actual reader or keypad.
- Be wary if the keypad feels too thick and the buttons are difficult to press, or if your card has difficulty sliding in and out of the card reader.
- Check the screen to make sure it isn’t loose, and that the graphics displayed on the screen are aligned correctly.
- Never use a machine that has tape or glue residue on any parts of the machine, or has anything hanging from it such as loose wires.
Additional Tips to Protect Your Cards
- Do not enter your PIN on the machine’s keypad; instead, run the transaction as a credit transaction so you do not have to enter your PIN. The machine should prompt you to select if you want your purchase to be debit or credit. By selecting credit, you will not have to enter your PIN. If you are not given the option and the machine prompts you for your PIN, press the “enter” button without typing your PIN. Remember, skimmers need your PIN as well as your card number to access the funds and information on your card, so the best way to protect yourself is by not entering your PIN.
- When you have to enter your PIN, always cover the PIN keypad. Use one hand as a shield when entering your PIN on the machine’s keypad with your other hand. You never know who may be watching. Fraudsters will even install tiny hidden cameras to record your PIN.
- Use our official Robins Financial Credit Union ATMs. As a general rule, the ATMs at your own financial institution or even a different credit union or bank are more securely monitored and maintained than other ATMs. Even if you are unable to use a Robins Financial ATM, use our location search tool to find a nearby ATM within our network of secure surcharge-free ATMS.
- Use an ATM in a well-lit area within public view (and with visible security cameras!) as these are less likely to be tampered with. Scammers prefer to stay out of sight when installing and collecting their devices, so they will choose machines less likely to be noticed.
What to Do If You Find a Skimming Device
If you notice any of the warning signs listed above, do not use that machine. Notify the owner of the machine or store immediately, and contact local police so they can investigate.
What to Do If You’ve Been Skimmed
Contact us immediately if you suspect fraudulent activity on your card. You can instantly report your card as stolen within Digital Banking and turn your card off within the Card Guard app to deactivate your card until we issue you a new one.
Even when following all possible precautions, card fraud still happens. When in doubt, check your account! Monitor your account activity anytime, anywhere using Digital Banking and use our Card Guard app to remotely manage all aspects of your cards. Set alerts to be notified instantly of your account activity. This will alert you to fraudulent activity right away so you can report it.