ATM Alert: Beware of "skimming" devices - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

ATM Alert: Beware of "skimming" devices

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- We use ATM's almost daily in our fast-paced lives and you think everything's going to be okay as long as you have money in your account.

But law enforcement is now warning that you should be more cautious when swiping your card... they say to look out for skimmers.

Criminals are installing these skimming devices and replicating people's cards and it's not even just happening at ATM's anymore, the criminals are putting these gadgets just about anywhere you go to swipe your card.

If you're not careful just one swipe of your ATM card could make you the next victim to skimming.

"Basically what happens in a skimming type operation is they'll put a device usually on the exterior of the machine. When you slide your credit card in it allows the magnetic strip to pass over their device on the inside and when that occurs it is able to catch the information off the back of the strip," says Sgt. Tom Claymon of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

The skimmers fit right over the card swiper reading your card and capturing your information, even your pin number.

"They are able to use it on basically any type of credit card operation. That could include gas stations and that could include restaurants," comments Sgt. Claymon.

Criminals use the technology to generate a mirror copy of your card and are able to duplicate that onto any blank card and within minutes they can use it at any ATM.

Sgt. Claymon explains, "When you take your card out the suspects would then be able to come remove that device quickly, take that information, download it into a computer which is going to allow them to create on a room key card or other blank card being able to generate a mirror copy of your credit card."

It's that easy, but there are some things you can do to avoid being a victim of this type of fraud:

Beware of what you're swiping your card in. Skimmers will most likely stick out a few extra inches more than normal card readers. When you're typing in your PIN keep one had over it so no one can see and change your PIN regularly. Be wary of suspicious activities or people at an ATM. Notify the bank as soon as you notice an authorized transaction on your account.

Banks are constantly looking for red flags and consulting their clients when they're cards are used in odd locations, but if there's something that looks suspicious at an ATM, let the bank know and find another ATM.

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