Refuel Your Knowledge on Holiday Scammers
Credit and debit card fraud is now more alarmingly abundant than ever before, especially during the seemingly endless holiday season. Scammers continue to come up with more and more elaborate schemes to try and swindle you out of all your funds without you realizing what’s happened until it’s too late.
Consumers now have to take a second look when using their cards at gas pump kiosks and ATMs. One of the latest fraud techniques is being referred to as “skimming.” Skimming, is when scammers use a 3D printer to create a new PIN pad keyboard and card reader to put on top of the real one. Scammers are creating these skimmers to replicate ATM PIN pads in an attempt to compromise entire card information whenever someone simply makes a transaction.
Scammers will always come up with new diabolical plans to try and compromise consumer’s funds, but just because card fraud is more apparent now doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of it. Stand up to this new wave of card fraud with these useful tips to help keep your money out of someone else’s hands.
Look before you insert your card.
Before you slide your debit or credit card in a fuel pump kiosk, or any card reader, take a good hard look at the entire PIN pad and card reader. The keyboard might look different from the rest of the kiosk, or the keys could look bigger. For fuel pump card readers, the first question to ask is, “Is the seal broken?” The seals are part of a voluntary program by the gas industry to thwart gas pump tampering. In order to place a skimmer inside a fuel pump, scammers must open the fuel dispenser door first, which will be noticeable because the seal will be broken. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void,” which means the machine has been tampered with. Also, be extremely careful if you find that it’s harder than usual to insert your credit or debit card into the card reader. If so, you can look inside the card reader to see if there is anything irregular in the way.
If something doesn’t feel right, walk away.
No, really, you can just walk away. Something could be off about the kiosk other than the PINpad being different or seal being broken. There might be a new cardboard box containing literature next to the gas pump that you don’t remember being there previously. Even if the kiosk doesn’t have a physical skimmer on it, scammers use these different types of distractions to conceal a pinhole camera that they will sometimes use to record you as you key in your PIN. If anything seems even remotely suspicious about the transaction or machine, walk away and contact the establishment where it’s located. As much as you might think you need the gas or cash right now, it’s not worth it to use a potentially compromised machine and possibly leave your funds up for grabs.
Use common sense.
Don’t forget, it’s YOUR money. Don’t feel bad about taking a couple extra minutes to make sure your transaction is legitimate. Try to avoid gas pumps that are out of sight of the clerk’s view, or use ATMs in areas that have good lighting with little traffic. When you can, pay for gas or complete your ATM transactions inside. There is a much less likelihood of your information being compromised when you are using a machine that is being consistently monitored.
As if card fraud wasn’t already prevalent enough with online shopping (see our Avoid Holiday Identity Theft Blog), you can never be “too” cautious about protecting and spending your money. Just remember to use extra precaution this holiday season and to always take an extra look when using your credit or debit card on purchases. If you do fall victim to fraud, contact us immediately. We will ensure you receive a new card number to protect your assets and work to recover any funds that have been compromised. In the meantime, we’ll immediately issue you a temporary card so that you can continue making purchases while you wait for your new card.
Apart from regularly tracking your statements and card activity through online banking, a huge line of defense against all types of fraud that’s available to you is the Card Control feature on our mobile app . Card Control allows you to turn your debit card on or off at any time with just a simple click or tap. To help prevent fraud, you can keep your card turned off, and then turn it back on when you need it to make a purchase. The Yolo Federal mobile app is available for download on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.