Identity theft is a serious issue for ATM users, however these tips will make you an alert banker.
How do they do it?
One way fraudsters aim to get a hold of your PIN is by installing a skimming device in the ATM machine. This uses the magnetic strip on your card to copy information about your account. Once the scammer has received these details, they create a second card with the same account information so that they can ratchet up their spending on behalf of their victim.
Cameras may also be installed to capture the user typing in their PIN. The camera can be as tiny as a pin hole and set up next to the card slot, above the pin pad.
The good news is that debit card fraud has fallen from 3.3 to 1.2 for every 100,000 transactions in the year to June 2011, according to the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA).
What can you do?
Despite the threat of identity fraud, you can’t shut yourself off from ATMs forever. Here are some tips from the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC):
Check your account statement regularly. There’s no need to wait for a paper statement to arrive in the mail anymore – hop online frequently to look at your transaction history. If you see a transaction that looks suspicious and unlike something you’d make yourself, contact your bank
2. Never keep a written record of your PIN for your credit or debit cards, and don’t tell anybody what your PIN is.
3. Be imaginative when choosing up your PIN number – don’t make it too predictable for someone else to guess.
4. Cover the keypad when punching in your PIN at an ATM machine, to prevent any cameras from recording your withdrawal of funds. Take a quick look at your surroundings, just to make sure nobody is standing too close to you at the ATM.
5. Ensure there’s a flashing light at the front of the card slot. If you can’t see a light, it could mean the ATM is fitted with a skimming device.
-- By Stephanie Hanna
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