When people think of credit card fraud, many think of just online theft or only in big cities. But they don't realize they could actually be handing over their information when they use simple machines such as an ATM even on a college campus.
In 2016, a video was released showing a credit card skimmer, when placed over the card reader of an ATM, easily stole information straight from the card.
But, in 2017 the new skimmer is on college campuses, one recently happened on the campus of Ohio State at an Huntington ATM.
What is a skimmer?
A skimmer is a small device used by credit card thieves to steal your information. They come in many forms, but in the case of the ones on campus, they are false covers over the spot where you would insert your card. When you place your card in the card reader not only will the ATM read your magnetic strip but so will the skimmer. Just like that criminals gain all your pertinent information according to our station WKRC in Cincinnati.
Next time you go to an ATM be sure to give the card reader a firm tug to see if there is a skimmer in use. If it doesn't wiggle that means the ATM should be safe to use.(example above)
How do they scam you?
With every swipe, the skimmer steals data off the card’s magnetic strip. The scammer comes back to the compromised machine to pick up the skimmer with all the stolen data. It is easy and simple and happened earlier this year at University of Pittsburgh. With the collected, the thief is then able to create cloned cards, break into accounts, and steal money. More often than not, these skimmers are loosely placed over top the card reader or glued on.
The scariest part is that when made well, these skimmers do not prevent the ATM or credit card reader from functioning improperly. They go unnoticed.
What can you do to protect yourself?
If you or a loved one is affected by an ATM skimmer or are scammed, there is good news. Under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, consumers are not liable for all the funds stolen from their bank account through frauds such as skimming, as long as it is reported within 60 days.
It takes three seconds out of your day to check the card reader and save yourself possibly hundreds to thousands of dollars. Next time, think before you swipe.