The use of ATM skimmers to steal a person’s financial and personal account information is a growing problem for financial institutions, merchants, restaurants and law enforcement agencies around the country. At Travis Credit Union, we are committed to protecting your data from identity thieves and we remain proactive and vigilant against such fraud.
With a new year ahead of us, here are some tips to remember when using your debit, ATM or credit card at payment terminals and automatic teller machines.
Select the safest places possible
A majority of ATM skimming takes place at non-bank ATMs, so be mindful when looking for an ATM to use. Travis Credit Union is part of the CO-OP ATM Network, which gives our members access to more than 30,000 free ATMs in the U.S. and Canada.
When deciding on which gas station pump to use, select one that is in sight of the store clerk. ATM skimmers are usually found at gas pumps out-of-sight of the store windows, where people are less likely to notice any lingering activity at the pump.
Inspect the terminal
Before you insert or slide your payment card into an ATM or gas pump card reader, take a look at the terminal to see if there’s anything out of the ordinary. If this is a terminal you have used before, does it look different today? Wiggle the card to see if there is anything loose (if it is, report it to the financial institution or gas station attendant).
At a gas pump, check to see if the security seal is broken or tampered with. If so, check to see if the door to the dispenser has been forced open. Look inside the card reader to see if there’s anything there. Be wary if it is hard to insert your credit or debit card.
Pay attention to how it functions
Pay attention to how the keypad feels when entering your PIN. If it is difficult to press, there may be a keypad overlay on it that is recording your data. Be wary and cancel the transaction if your account data doesn’t come up on the screen or if you get generic “ATM out of service” message. For additional security, cover your hand when typing your PIN to protect it from hidden cameras and wandering eyes.
Consider other payment options
Experts say there is no foolproof way to detect skimmers, especially as technology advances and these devices get smaller and smarter. For gas purchases, consider other options such as paying inside at the cashier or paying with cash or a credit card.
An additional step to protect yourself from identity theft is to set up transaction alerts on all of your debit and credit card accounts. These can be done using your Online Banking. These alerts will let you know when a transaction has occurred on your account, and if unauthorized, allow you to notify your financial institution sooner rather than later.
If you believe you have become a victim of identity theft involving your Travis Credit Union account(s), please call our Member Service Center at (707) 449-4000 or (800) 877-8328 during normal working hours.