We want to inform you that we are aware of unauthorized ATM withdrawal activity that some of our members have been experiencing. We are investigating these transactions and are handing the information we uncover to local authorities. This type of criminal activity usually involves a skimming device.
Skimming is and illegal activity that happens when your credit card or ATM/debit card data is stolen during what seem like a normal transaction. The activity involves installation of an electronic device, usually undetectable by the cardholder, which secretly captures the data stored on the magnetic strip of the card as it is inserted in an ATM or swiped at a retail outlet for making some payment. Criminals can then encode the stolen data onto a counterfeit blank card and rapidly use it to withdraw money or make purchases until detected by the cardholder.
Skimming mostly occurs at the isolated ATMs or at a retail outlet that processes card payments particularly restaurants, gas station pumps, etc.
It is difficult for an average person to detect skimming devices as criminals creatively apply new technologies and techniques to defraud people. However, in the public interest especially for financial consumers, Premier Community Credit Union recommends following tips that may minimize the chances of becoming a victim to skimming fraud:
- Avoid self-service card readers by paying for your gas inside the station, going into the credit union to get cash, using the employee-manned check-out when buying groceries, etc.
- If you have to use an ATM, use the one owned by your credit union. Not only will it save you the fee, but the majority of skimming occurs at privately-owned ATM's, such as those located inside gas stations.
- Look for anything "off”. For instance, is anything crooked or loose? Is part of the machine a different color than the rest? If there are other machines of the same type nearby, compare them for discrepancies.
- Try to use machines that are in view of a security camera. These are less likely to be tampered with, or if they were, it's more likely that it will be discovered.
- Conversely, when inputting your PIN, cover the pad with your hand in case there are any illegal cameras hidden nearby. Also, if the keypad feels stiff, sticky, or wrong in any way, move to a different one or avoid the location altogether.
- Most importantly, check your credit union account regularly and consistently for fraudulent charges. If anything looks suspicious, call your credit union. Many credit unions also offer fraud alert services at no cost, but checking yourself takes little time and should give you peace of mind.
We know that this crime is an inconvenience to our members and we appreciate your patience as we work to expedite your card replacement and credits your account as quickly as possible.