Certain tasks used to be very difficult, if not impossible, but with today’s technology we are able to do these tasks on a daily basis with the click of a button. We can conduct a face-to-face conversation with people halfway across the world thanks to computers, cameras and the Internet. The Internet also allows us to make purchases without ever stepping foot inside a store. An older but similar life-simplifying technology is being able to withdraw money from your Checking or Savings Account without having to wait in line at a branch by using an ATM.
Unfortunately, the same technology we rely on every day also opens the door for thieves and fraudulent activity. As banking and retail services become increasingly global, the risk for fraudulent activity and identity theft also increases.
Identity theft involves stealing a person’s identity and taking many different pieces of information and using it as their own. The information stolen could be your name, address, social security number or various account numbers, either from your financial institution or your credit card numbers. Identity theft can take years to resolve.
ATM fraud deals with only your ATM account number but allows the thief access to any accounts associated with that particular account number. One way thieves can access your ATM account is by skimming your card at the ATM. Skimming is a method of illegally obtaining card track data which is stored in the magnetic strip of the ATM card through a card reading device. Skimming devices are attached to the ATM and typically blend in with the ATM itself so the unknowing victim doesn’t notice that something looks out of place.
Another way criminals can commit ATM fraud is through card trapping or fishing. This is a device that is attached to the ATM causing your card to become stuck in the ATM. Criminals then return to the ATM and remove the device and your card along with it.
Member and account security is always an important topic for Founders and we will always keep our members informed of recent fraudulent activity. If you notice anything suspicious around any Founders ATMs, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-845-1614 so we can assess the situation and ensure that your account is safe and has not been compromised.
This article was published in the Founders FCU's Transaction Newsletter (January 2012).