Daily Dupaco

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Can you spot a skimmer?

If you withdraw money from an ATM or pay at the pump for gas, you’re at risk of a common type of fraud Todd Link, SVP Risk Management & Remote Deliveryknown as skimming.

But you don’t have to be a victim.

Todd Link, senior vice president, Risk Management & Remote Delivery at Dupaco Community Credit Union, explains how this type of card fraud works and what you can do to avoid it.

What it is
A skimming device is a piece of equipment fraudsters attach over card readers at ATMs or self-service payment kiosks at gas pumps, parking garages and elsewhere.

During the legitimate transaction, a card passes through a second card reader that illegally captures the card number. Criminals install a camera nearby to simultaneously record the cardholder’s PIN as it’s entered.
Hours or a day later, the thief returns to retrieve the camera and the card skimmer. From this data, fraudsters can produce fake cards and use them to withdraw funds from unsuspecting cardholders’ accounts.

Spotting a skimmer
Skimming devices are sometimes easy to detect, while others are fairly sophisticated, Link says.
Before you insert a card into any self-service payment kiosk, look at the plastic surrounding the card reader. It should look permanent and professional and not appear to be wiggly. You should NEVER be able to remove any cover that’s on the card reader. And know that businesses and financial institutions do not point a micro camera toward the keyboard.

“If you have concerns about the merchant or the ATM, do not pay or use a card there,” Link says. “Trust your instincts, and always report strange events or observed behavior.”
When possible, report suspicious activity or equipment to the manager on duty. If it’s after hours, call the local police department.

“Members need to remember that if they report fraud in a timely manner, they are not held accountable for theft by either MasterCard or VISA,” Link says. “The important lesson is to always watch your monthly statements and look for charges you do not recognize.”

How smart cards will help
U.S. financial institutions, including Dupaco, are actively issuing EMV “smart” credit cards to help combat card fraud.

The new EMV (short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards will significantly reduce the likelihood of a card-skimming device being successful in stealing funds with a counterfeit card, Link says. Later generations of EMV cards will improve online security as well, he says.

“Card skimming will remain popular until EMV cards are the dominant card in members’ purse or wallet,” Link says.

By Emily Kittle

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