FAIRFIELD, Calif. — The Fairfield Police Department is warning people about ATM skimming. During the first week in November, a resident noticed a suspicious mirror and wires on an outdoor ATM on the 1400 block of Travis Boulevard.
Skimming includes a device called a skimmer, that captures card data and a camera to get the PIN.
These devices are commonly located at convenience stores or gas stations, but can also be placed at credit unions and bank ATMs, according to the Fairfield Police Department.
Here's how it works
There are two things that someone needs to make skimming work: card data from the magnetic strip and the PIN.
To capture the card data, a skimming device is placed close to where someone inserts their card.
However, according to the Fairfield Police Department, criminals are limited in what they can do with stolen data. This is why the PIN is essential.
To capture the PIN, a tiny camera is hidden nearby, often concealed to look like part of the machine.
The Fairfield Police Department has some tips to protect your card information.
- Assume someone is looking.
Cover your hand while you enter your PIN even if the machine or ATM doesn't appear to be tampered with.
- Use an indoor ATM.
Indoor ATMs are generally safer than outdoor ATMs because criminals can access outdoor machines without being seen, according to the Fairfield Police Department.
- Avoid ATMs located in more remote areas.
ATMs that aren't located in busy areas are more susceptible to skimming because criminals don't want to be observed installing the device. The Fairfield Police Department says that there are exceptions and to remain vigilant.
- Check an ATM before you use it.
Check for something suspicious and consider the safety of an ATM before using it.
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