7 common ATM frauds and how to stay safe | The Times of India (2024)

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01/8The risks carried by ATM machines

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Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have revolutionized the way we access our finances, offering convenience and round-the-clock service. However, this convenience comes with its own set of risks. ATM frauds are on the rise, with scammers devising new methods to exploit users. Understanding these frauds is the first step towards safeguarding oneself. Here are seven common ATM frauds and tips on how to stay safe.

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02/8Skimming

7 common ATM frauds and how to stay safe | The Times of India (3)

7 common ATM frauds and how to stay safe | The Times of India (4)7 common ATM frauds and how to stay safe | The Times of India (5)

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Skimming is one of the most prevalent ATM frauds. Scammers install a discreet device on the ATM that can capture the data on your card’s magnetic strip. Coupled with a hidden camera to record your PIN, they can clone your card and make unauthorized transactions. To avoid skimming, inspect the ATM for any unusual devices attached to it, and always cover the keypad while entering your PIN.

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03/8Shimming

7 common ATM frauds and how to stay safe | The Times of India (6)

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Shimming is a sophisticated form of ATM fraud where criminals use a thin, card-sized device called a shim to access data from the chip of a debit or credit card. Unlike skimming devices that are often more visible to the naked eye, shims are discreetly inserted into the card slot, making them nearly undetectable. They work by intercepting the data during a transaction, allowing fraudsters to clone the card’s chip and potentially steal funds. To protect against shimming, it’s crucial to be cautious and observant. Before inserting your card, inspect the ATM for any signs of tampering, such as loose or odd-looking parts around the card slot. Use ATMs in secure, well-monitored areas, and consider using contactless payment methods when available. Additionally, regularly monitoring bank statements for unauthorized transactions and setting up banking alerts can provide an extra layer of security against this type of fraud

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04/8Cloning

7 common ATM frauds and how to stay safe | The Times of India (9)

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Card cloning is a deceptive practice where criminals replicate your ATM card’s data to create a counterfeit card. This fraudulent activity often targets individuals who are less familiar with such scams, including the elderly. The cloning process involves capturing the card’s information using a device covertly installed on an ATM or card reader. Once the data is obtained, it’s transferred onto a new card, which is then used to make unauthorized transactions or withdrawals. To safeguard against cloning, it’s crucial to keep your card within sight during transactions and be cautious of strangers offering assistance at ATMs.

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05/8Trapping

Trapping is a deceptive technique used by fraudsters to capture an ATM user’s card. They install a device inside the card slot that physically ensnares the card, preventing it from being returned after a transaction. Unsuspecting victims, finding their card stuck, are often approached by the scammer posing as a helpful bystander or even a bank official. The fraudster may offer to assist in retrieving the card, using this opportunity to observe the victim entering their PIN, which is then used to access the trapped card and steal funds. If your card becomes trapped, it’s crucial to contact your bank immediately and report the incident. Avoid using ATMs that appear tampered with or are located in poorly lit or secluded areas, as these are more likely to be targeted by criminals. Always be aware of your surroundings and if you notice anything suspicious, use a different machine.

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06/8Keyboard jamming

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Keyboard Jamming is a devious form of ATM fraud where scammers intentionally disable key buttons on the ATM’s keypad, such as ‘Enter’, ‘Cancel’, or numeric keys. The aim is to disrupt the normal transaction process, causing confusion and leading the user to abandon the session, potentially leaving their card in the machine. The fraudster, who is usually nearby, can then step in to complete the transaction using the victim’s entered details, or retrieve the card for later misuse. To guard against this scam, always test the keypad before inserting your card to ensure all buttons are responsive. If you encounter any resistance or find that certain keys don’t work, cancel the transaction immediately, retrieve your card, and report the issue to the bank.

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07/8Phishing

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Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in electronic communication. Typically carried out through email spoofing or instant messaging, it directs users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site. In the context of ATM fraud, phishing can involve scammers sending messages that appear to be from your bank, requesting your ATM card details and PIN. They may use sophisticated techniques to make the request seem legitimate, such as using the bank’s logos and branding. To protect yourself from phishing, it’s crucial to verify the authenticity of any communication received. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or unsolicited emails or messages. Always contact your bank directly using official channels if you receive a request for personal information.

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08/8Card swapping

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Card Swapping is a cunning form of ATM fraud where a scammer watches as you input your PIN and then uses a distraction technique to exchange your card with a fake one. This often occurs in the brief moment you might be engaged in conversation or distracted by something the scammer has staged. Once they have your card and PIN, they can access your account and withdraw funds. To prevent this, it’s essential to stay focused at the ATM and not allow any interruptions during your transaction. Be wary of strangers approaching or speaking to you, and if someone tries to alert you to a problem with the machine or offers help, it’s likely a ploy. Always keep your card within sight and hand, and after completing your transaction, ensure that the card you retrieve is indeed yours. If you suspect a card swap has occurred, notify your bank immediately to secure your account.

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FAQs

How do I avoid getting scammed at an ATM? ›

How to protect yourself
  1. Do not use public ATM's. ...
  2. Protect your PIN. ...
  3. Look for signs of skimmers. ...
  4. Be wary of strange signs. ...
  5. Examine the machine for anything that looks unusual, a keypad that looks newer than the rest of the machine or any parts that are a different color.

Can money be stolen from ATM machine? ›

There are several methods to break into ATM machines physically and steal money. Some common methods are: Skimming: This involves placing a device over the card reader on the ATM to steal card information. Shoulder Surfing: This is when a thief watches over a shoulder while you enter your pin and then use the card.

How do I protect myself at an ATM? ›

Be careful that no one can see you enter your PIN at the ATM. Use your other hand or body to shield the ATM keyboard as you enter your PIN into the ATM. To keep your account information confidential, always take your receipts or transaction records with you.

What should you do before you withdraw money from the ATM? ›

Before you approach the ATM, have your card ready, know your code and if anything such as a deposit slip needs to be filled out, have it completed.

What is ATM cash trapping? ›

Cash Trapping: A scammer uses a trap to collect the cash from dispensing. After the banker leaves the ATM to notify the bank, the scammer will remove the trap to collect the cash. Glue and Tap Scam: Many ATMs have begun including a tap function for credit cards.

Can ATM withdrawals be traced? ›

Yes, ATM cards with EMV chips can be traced. The chip stores information about the cardholder and the card's transactions, which can be used to trace the card and its transactions.

Can someone get your card info from ATM? ›

Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders' PINs. Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal from victims' accounts.

How do I know if my ATM is safe to withdraw cash? ›

Examine the card reader for signs of tampering.
  • There are glue marks around the reader.
  • There is tape sticking out from under the reader.
  • The reader is skewed or hanging off to the side.
  • A loose piece of plastic or equipment is sticking out from the reader.

Can an ATM give out fake money? ›

Could I receive fake money from an ATM? As we have mentioned, the U.S. Federal Reserve states that the chance of getting a fake bill from an ATM is 0.01%. All banks have a set of security measures in place to detect and confiscate fake money.

How do I know if my ATM is sketchy? ›

Don't use ATMs that have damaged or loose parts or look as if they have been tampered with. “Try wiggling the card reader area to see if it feels loose or if there is a 'cover' over it,” advises Wenzler. “That could be a sign of a skimmer having been placed on top of the actual card reader itself.”

How to tell if a cash machine is safe? ›

Check to see if anything looks unusual or suspicious about the ATM showing it might have been tampered with. If it appears to have any attachments to the card slot, cash slot or key pad, do not use it and if possible alert nearby staff or call the police.

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