Written by Josh Brown, VP Director of Security at The Fauquier Bank
Some things drop from the news, even though they remain a serious topic for our attention. Skimmers, or skimming, is one of those things. Recently, gas pump skimmers have been found in Fauquier County and ATM skimmers in Fauquier and Winchester. Most of us have heard of skimmers, some of us have even seen news reports with images of the skimming devices. There are about as many different skimmers as there are criminal gangs using them.
Some skimmers are even available for purchase on what is called the “Dark Web.” Almost all rely on capturing your PIN through either a camera or keypad overlay. The pinhole camera in the image below can be found at the upper right of the cash dispenser.
Non-bank ATMs are the most frequent locations for criminals to install an ATM skimmer. Whether a bank ATM or a free-standing ATM, pull on the card slot and look for possible pinhole cameras installed. If you suspect a skimmer on an ATM, do not remove it, call the police. The criminals could be watching.
The following recommendations are being circulated in law enforcement as the best ways to avoid being the victim of a skimmer installed on a gas pump:
- Use the pump closest to the building or in clear view of the cashier. When placing skimming devices, criminals try not to be seen and will often use pumps where employees have obstructed views.
- Look for wires hanging out of access panels, and damaged or broken locks on the gas pump.
- Look at other gas pumps to be sure the credit card readers all look the same.
- Look for tamper-resistant seals on access panels (see below for examples).
- Avoid entering your PIN number at a gas pump, or if you must, be sure to shield it with your other hand.
- If anything looks suspicious about the pump, report it to an employee and go to another location.
- Diligently check your credit card statement each month for fraudulent charges. Criminals often use stolen credit card numbers to make small purchases ensuring it will work before racking up large amounts of money.
- While it may be inconvenient, the best way to avoid credit card skimmers is to pay the attendant inside.
Meet Josh Brown at our next Day in the Branch: Learning Banking Security on August 30th at The Plains branch. Mr. Brown will be at the branch from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding fraud, identity theft, elder abuse, and more!
Stay up-to-date on upcoming events by checking out our calendar!