There have been several recent news reports of ATM and gas station card skimmers found in the Salem area.
Skimming is a crime in which the victim’s card information is accessed or breached while they are completing a legitimate transaction such as withdrawing money from an ATM or making a purchase at a gas station or store. Thieves then use this information to make unauthorized withdrawals and purchases from the victim’s account.
There are many ways you can protect yourself from card skimming. In the following we answer some frequently asked questions about card skimmers, as well as provide you tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
What is a “skimmer”?
A skimmer is a small electric card reader designed to fit over an ATM or gas pump terminal card reader slot. Once your card is inserted or swiped, the skimmer reads the magnetic stripe on your card and captures the information for the thieves. A small camera is also usually hidden near the skimmer to capture your PIN as you enter it, or they may tamper with the PIN pad.
How is my card information used?
Thieves create counterfeit or “cloned” cards with the information obtained. These cards are then used at ATMs to withdraw cash or at stores to make purchases from your account.
What does a skimmer look like?
Skimming devices come in many forms and can be hard to detect. Many are designed to blend in with the features of the ATM. Signs to watch for include:
- Card readers and key pads that look out of place or don’t fit securely;
- Tape or adhesive residue near or around the outside of the card reader and PIN pad.
- Scratches on the ATM façade near the card reader or PIN pad.
What should I do if I think there’s a card skimmer?
Don’t attempt to remove it; the thieves may be in the vicinity and monitoring the skimmer. If the ATM is at a bank which is open, go inside and report it to bank staff. If it’s after hours or at a remote site, go to a safe and secure location and call the police to report it.
What can I do to protect myself from skimmer thieves?
- Use ATMs at locations you know. Pay attention to what the card reader and PIN pad normally look like.
- Do a quick inspection before inserting your card into any reader.
- Always cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
- Pay attention to your accounts. Immediately report any unauthorized ATM withdrawals or purchases to our Bankcard Dept. or the number on the back of your card.
- Trust your instinct. Report any peculiarities such as card or PIN reader errors you encounter while attempting to use your card.
- When in doubt, don’t use the ATM.
What does Pioneer Trust Bank do to protect me?
We employ a number of tools to monitor your transactions for fraud and protect your identity. You have the added protection of Visa’s Zero Liability® for fraudulent or unauthorized transactions.
For More Information
Please contact our Bankcard Department at (888) 444-3497