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11/17/2016

Holiday Shoppers: 7 Steps to Protect Yourself from Card Skimmers

Harrisburg, PA - The PA Department of Banking and Securities advises holiday shoppers to be especially watchful for fraudulent card skimming devices, which can be attached to ATM machines, gas pumps, or other payment processing machines in retail stores.

Criminals can place card skimmers over authentic card readers. These skimmers allow criminals to steal credit or debit card data by reading the information contained on the card when it is swiped or inserted. Often combined with a concealed camera, thieves can also record your Personal Identification Number (PIN).

With this information, thieves can withdraw money from the victim’s bank account and make unauthorized purchases. Additionally, the thieves may sell this information to others.

Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann advises consumers to take seven steps to protect themselves:

  • Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations and avoid using ATMs that are stand-alone units in corners of stores or other out-of-the-way locations.
  • Look at the card reader slot and surrounding areas to see if anything looks out of place, mismatched, or loose.
  • Make sure no one is watching you enter your PIN (or on their phone nearby, possibly filming you).
  • Consider using your credit card instead of your debit card to avoid compromising your PIN and to gain other consumer protections. Read our brief Credit or Debit guide to learn more.
  • Choose gas pumps that are closer to and within the line of vision of the cashiers.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements frequently to watch for fraudulent activity and report any unfamiliar activity immediately.
  • You can also give yourself a gift this holiday season -- order a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com at 1.877.322.8228

“During the holiday season, shoppers are often rushed, causing them to miss small, but important details,” said Secretary Wiessmann. “Armed with this information, I urge consumers to take their time, be careful, and take charge of protecting themselves from this sophisticated crime.”

The general public can contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-600-0007 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products. Members of the public are also invited to connect to the department through Facebook and Twitter, or subscribing to the department’s newsletter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Novak - 717.783.4721

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