Crime prevention officers from the 71st Precinct are warning about an increase in fraud and identity related crimes. The precinct prepared an informative page on ATM ‘skimming’ and how to avoid becoming a victim.
ATM “Skimming” is an illegal activity which involves the installation of devices that are undetectable by ATM users.
These devices secretly record bank account data when the customer inserts a card into an ATM machine. Criminals can then encode the stolen data onto a blank card and use it to steal money from the customer’s bank account.
HOW IT WORKS:
- The criminal creates a skimmer which is usually made out of plastic or plaster and looks very much like the original card reader. This skimmer is then placed directly over the ATM card reader, undetectable by the customer. As customers insert their ATM card into the false skimmer, the bank account information which is stored on the cards magnetic strip is “skimmed” or stolen and usually stored on some type of electronic device
- In conjunction with the skimming device, a hidden camera is often used, in order to record thecustomer’s Personal Identification Number (PIN #)
- In lieu of a hidden camera, a keyboard overlay is sometimes placed directly over the original keypad. This overlay is undetectable by the customer and will record the user as they are typing in their PIN #
HOW TO AVOID BEING SKIMMED:
- Inspect the bank ATM, grocery store ATM, gas pump or any other card reader before using it. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, damaged or if you notice adhesive/tape residue. An original card reader is usually concave in shape (curving inward); while the skimmer is more convex (curving outward)
- When entering your PIN #, block the keypad with your free hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number
- Be aware of “money trapping.” This is where the criminal attaches a device to the cash dispenser, trapping the customer’s money and retrieves the money after the customer leaves the ATM area.
- Be wary of ATM’s in tourist locations, as they are often the target of skimmers
- When using an ATM, it is much safer to use a reputable bank. Avoid using ATM’s at grocery stores, pharmacies, fast food locations, etc.
For additional Information
Contact PO Bulzoni 71 Precinct
Crime Prevention Officer @ 718-735-0528