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How To Avoid Becoming A Victim of Skimming And Credt/Debit Card Fraud

Apparently, identity thieves are active in North Carolina and are using skimming devices to steal consumers' debit card and credit card information. From WRAL:

"Skimming devices record data from the magnetic strips on the back of financial cards to create counterfeits, police said. Criminals place them automated teller machines or gas pumps to collect data, and they use hidden cameras to record people's personal identification numbers. SECU officials on Tuesday released photos of six men believed to have used stolen debit card information at credit union ATMs along the Interstate 85 corridor. Account information has been stolen from customers in Raleigh to Winston-Salem to Charlotte..."

This type of identity theft and fraud can happen anywhere. How you can avoid becoming a victim of skimming and debit/credit card fraud:

  • Closely examine card slots on ATMs and gas pumps to make sure nothing appears to be attached to the front of them.
  • Do not use an ATM or gas pump if the card reader appears to be added on, to fit poorly or to be loose.
  • Avoid device instructions that say things like "Swipe Here First" or “Use This Machine Only.”
  • If something does not look right, use another ATM or gas pump.
  • Always cover the keypad as you're entering your PIN in case a hidden camera is nearby.
  • Never accept "help" from anybody at an ATM.
  • Immediately call the customer service number on the ATM if a machine keeps your card, appears suspicious or does not function properly.

I follow all of these suggestions to avoid becoming a skimming and fraud victim. I also use ATM machines that I know well.... my bank's ATM locations. I feel like this helps me more easily spot an ATM machine that has been tampered with. I choose to avoid ATM machines at convenience stores since those vary in design, making it more difficult for me to spot ATM machines that have been tampered with. And I use cash at gas stations and convenience stores.


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