Think you’re safe withdrawing money from your local shopping centre ATM? Think again! Drew explains the lengths criminals are going to in order to steal your banking information. So how can you prevent it from happening?
The criminals involved in card theft are becoming more cunning as the public become more aware of the issues involved with identity theft and card skimming from ATMs. While it may sound like the most dangerous place for a criminal to attempt their operation, as the Christmas period approaches and the crowds build, shopping centres become the target of choice with a single day providing the capacity to steal the information of over 1000 cards.
What pieces of information are the criminals stealing?
There are two key pieces of information which the criminals are trying to steal in this process. These are:
- The digitally stored information on your card
- Your pin code
With these two pieces of information, criminals are not only able to withdraw money from your accounts, but have the ability to open up new lines of credit in your name.
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How to prevent your details from being stolen
The two pieces of information which the criminals need are captured in different ways. To gain access to the information stored on your card, the criminals need to attach a portable card reader to the front of the ATM. When you insert your card, the reader will capture your card information on the way through, but will allow for normal use. Also, on the side of the card reader will be a miniature in-built camera designed to capture your pin code.
There are two simple steps you can follow to ensure you don’t fall victim.
Whenever using an ATM, grab at the card entry point to ensure that the hardware is fixed to the machine. The skimming hardware being used by criminals currently is easily removed from the machine. In the future it is foreseeable that the technology may advance and become wireless.
After ensuring that there is no attached skimming hardware, you should continue to protect yourself by covering up the keypad with one hand while entering your pin code. This means that even if you are fooled by the criminals with an improved card skimmer, they will not be able to directly use your card for withdrawals.