07/11/2015: Beware of ATM Skimming Devices

Thieves are installing high-tech tools called “skimmers” on ATM machines in order to capture a person’s account information and steal their money.  The scam involves attaching devices to ATM machines that read the debit and credit card information when the card is swiped.  A camera may also be installed nearby to capture the person’s PIN, giving thieves everything they need to access that person’s account.  Skimming devices are usually only left in place for a short period of time and thus are not even securely fastened to the targeted ATM machine.  According to the FBI, criminals have become adept at creating skimming devices that look as if they are an original part of the ATM.


While ATMs in airports, gas stations, convenience stores and other well-traveled public places are most vulnerable to these devices, ATM skimming did just happen locally here in Lewis County and throughout the northwest. 


What you can do to avoid becoming a victim of skimming:

  • Notice Your Surroundings.  ATM users should check machines for anything that looks out of place before inserting/swiping their card.  Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.  Walk away from an ATM that looks suspicious or if you notice someone watching you.  Report this to the ATM operator or nearby law enforcement.
  • Cover Your PIN.  When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent a possible hidden camera from recording your number.
  • If Your Card Isn’t Returned. If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel”, immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card. 
  • Review Your Account Statements. Regularly review your account statements and report unauthorized withdrawals or purchases right away to your bank or credit card company.