ATM skimming up 546%: 7 ways to protect yourself

Is your money and bank information in danger of being stolen?

There are over 2.5 million ATMs around the world and there is a way for someone to access important personal information about you.

ATM skimming is the not so new way for someone to steal vital information regarding your card and PIN, which gives them full access to your account.

ATM card skimming is on the rise.

From 2014 to 2015, skimming incidents increased by 546 percent.

These numbers come from financial analytics company FICO and its FICO Card Alert Service software

Over $2 billion have been stolen annually through card skimming.

Even gas pumps can be vulnerable.

Last year, a wireless electronic device that was used to skim personal information from card holders was discovered at a gas pump on National Road in Vandalia.

How exactly does ATM skimming work?

According to howstuffworks.com, thieves will use hidden electronics that will be able to access the information within your card when you swipe at an ATM.

They may also place something of a hidden camera on or near the ATM so that they can record your PIN.

There are steps you could take to protect yourself from high-tech form of theft.

Here are seven tips to help you avoid ATM skimmers:

  • Quickly inspect an ATM before you use it. If the machine looks tampered with or something feels off, it may be best to just find different ATM. If the card reader can be removed, alert the police.
  • The ATM you choose to use could make all of the difference. Avoid ATMs in poorly lit areas or the ATMs that standalone in tourist areas.
  • If there is a camera nearby camera attempting to record your PIN, try your best to block it when making a transaction. You could use your hand or your body as a shield. It may also be wise to periodically change your PIN.
  • It could also be a good idea to use a credit card rather than a debit card. Or, select the option to have your debit card processed as a credit card transaction when making a purchase. This way, you will not be required to enter your PIN and the purchased will be debited from your checking account.
  • Be cautious if you see someone lingering around an ATM. If someone is there looking from help near one, it could just be a scam.
  • Keep an eye on your monthly statements to ensure all the money that should be there is. The sooner unfamiliar activity is noticed, the easier it is to fix that problem.
  • Check your credit report. Places like Equifax, Experian and Transunion offer one free credit report annually.

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