WICHITA, Kansas – It’s the latest high-tech way that criminals are using to steal your information.
Police call it a “crime of opportunity.”
It’s called a credit card “skimmer,” and it’s easy to install. They’re simply placed with double sided tape over the card opening. It “reads” the magnetic strip on the back of your debit or credit card.
“The actual time that it takes to retrieve that card number is the time that it takes to put the card in and pull it out,” said one Wichita Police Captain Doug Nolte.
And then the criminals can access your bank account.
Think it’s hard to find skimmers?
All we had to do was just type in “ATM skimmer” and found that if you have a hundred dollars, you can buy one of the devices off of several sites on the internet.
That’s it. A computer and a little bit of money.
But police say as easy as it is for the bad guys to install, it’s that easy to protect yourself from skimmers.
Alert the bank and authorities if you notice anything different about the ATM you use.
Some banks actually post the steps to identifying these skimmers on their machines.
While officials say that they don’t think anyone’s account was compromised, one ATM user told us that the criminals are taking money from the people who earned it honestly.
“With it going on all over the nation, it is sad that people have to resort to something like that when there are hard-working people,” said ATM customer Teresa Johnson.
Here are some tips on how you can protect identity– and your money – from skimmers.
- Pay attention to your bank accounts – Regularly monitor your bank account information and report any suspicious transactions immediately. To report suspicious activity on your Sunflower Bank debit card, call 888.827.5564. If your debit card is from another financial institution, please contact them directly to report any suspicious activity or change your PIN.
- Cover the keys – Always use your hand to shield your PIN from view when entering your PIN number on any card reading device.
- Be vigilant and keep your eyes open – Check out the card slot prior to using a card device. Look for anything that looks out of place or unusual or for a false slot attached to the original card slot. It could stick out further or look newer that the machine.
- When in doubt, don’t use – Do not use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, is loose or fits poorly. Remember, if it looks suspicious, do not use the ATM.
- Examine they keypad – Look to see if the keypad appears thick or different from how it usually looks if you used the machine before. It could be an overlay over the real keypad.
- Trust your instinct – If something seems out of the ordinary, report to the bank staff. Do not remove any suspected skimming device.