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ATMs are convenient for quick cash withdrawals, but they are also a hotspot for various types of scams. Being aware of these scams can help you protect your financial information and avoid becoming a victim. Here are nine popular ATM scams that you should be cautious of.
Skimming involves attaching a device to the ATM’s card slot to capture the data from the magnetic stripe of your card. Coupled with a hidden camera or keypad overlay to record your PIN, skimmers can gain full access to your account.
Glue & Tap
In this scam, the withdrawal slot is blocked with glue or a false front, trapping your cash inside. As you leave to report the issue, the scammer retrieves the money from the machine.
Scammers may place a device inside the card slot that prevents your card from being returned, leading you to believe the ATM has malfunctioned. Once you leave, they remove your card and use it.
Counterfeit ATMs are machines set up by scammers to capture card details and PINs. They may look like legitimate ATMs but are designed solely to steal information.
Counterfeit Pin Pads
Scammers sometimes replace the ATM’s real PIN pad with a counterfeit pad that records your keystrokes. This way, they can capture your PIN while the transaction proceeds as usual.
Shoulder surfing involves a scammer watching over your shoulder as you enter your PIN, then stealing your card information through various means, such as pickpocketing or a skimming device.
In cash trapping, a device is installed in the cash dispenser slot to trap your withdrawn cash. You might think the ATM didn’t dispense money, leaving the cash behind for the scammer to collect.
Scammers often loiter around ATMs offering help to people having trouble with their transactions. This is a ruse to observe your PIN entry and potentially swap your card with a fake one.
Although less common, sophisticated scammers can hack into an ATM’s software remotely, especially on less secure, older machines. They can then retrieve card details and PINs electronically.
Staying vigilant while using ATMs is crucial. Always cover the keypad while entering your PIN, inspect the machine for any unusual devices, and use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations. If an ATM seems suspicious or if you notice anything unusual during your transaction, it’s best to find another machine and report the incident to the bank or authorities. By being aware of these scams, you can better protect your financial information from fraudsters.
Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.