Detect and Avoid Illegal Skimming Devices

When it comes to accessing your personal and financial information, scam artists use a variety of tactics and technology to cheat you out of your hard-earned money. By installing an illegal device called a skimmer, scam artists can collect your debit or credit card information while you fill up at your neighborhood gas station, use your favorite ATM, or conduct normal day-to-day activities.

Businesses are often unaware of illegally installed skimmers, as a typical skimmer is smaller than a deck of cards and can be disguised to look like and fit over the actual card reader. Normally they are installed along with a small, hidden camera or fake number pad that records your PIN. Don’t be fooled!

Here are some tips from BHFCU’s card service experts that can help you combat scam artists and skimming devices:

Check for Tampering
When you approach a gas pump, self-pay terminal, or anything that requires you to swipe your card, be sure to check for obvious signs of tampering. If something looks off, consider paying inside. If there is more than one gas pump or self-pay terminal, compare them for obvious difference that could indicate tampering.

Wiggle Everything
ATMs are solidly constructed and generally don’t have any jiggling or loose parts. Pull at protruding parts like the card reader and make sure the keyboard is securely attached.

Cover the Keypad
Always assume there is someone looking over your shoulder or through a hidden camera, and cover the keypad with your hand when you enter your PIN. Without the PIN, your card information is much less useful to scam artists.

Consider Other Payments
Whenever possible, insert your BHFCU chip card into the reader instead of using the magnetic strip to perform transactions. When you use your EMV chip, the card is authorized on the device and your information encrypted. Apply Pay is also a great alternative.

BHFCU works hard to prevent scam artists from skimming your information by regularly inspecting all BHFCU-owned ATMs and Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) for traces of tampering, suspicious equipment, and damage. Additionally, all BHFCU members' transactions are backed by VISA's Zero Liability Protection.

We encourage you to take some further precautionary measures, like signing up for BHFCU’s Card Alerts program and register for our Online Banking and Mobile services, which can help you monitor your accounts for fraud. If you notice any fraudulent activity, be sure to report it to BHFCU as soon as possible. Call us at 605-718-1818 or stop by any of our location.