Citing data from a study conducted by data analytics company FICO, Business Insider reported that cases of automated teller machine (ATM) fraud in the United States increased by over 546 percent between 2014 and 2015. According to the report, as much as 60 percent of the ATM fraud reported can be traced back to non-bank-owned ATMs, which are cash-dispensing-only ATMs that are owned by non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs). NBFIs typically don’t have complete banking licenses and are not controlled by regulatory agencies.
One of the major reasons why the United States remains a hothouse for criminal activities like ATM fraud is because a large portion of the payment cards being used in the country is still not EMV-enabled. EMV is a microchip-based technology that safeguards payment cards from skimming fraud.This criminal activity typically involves thieveswho createcounterfeit copies of magnetic stripe cards in order to withdraw the cash of unsuspecting victims.
If you are a credit union member and you want to protect yourself from ATM fraud, it is importantfor you to be aware of the precautionary measures that you can take.Coordinate with your credit union to find out what solutions they can offer. Additionally, credit union interbank networks like CO-OP Financial Services also offer educational and technological tools to help credit unions and their members deal with security risks.
To help you get started, here are some of these tips that you can consider.
Use an ATM located inside a branch of the financial institution
The safest ATMs are those found in the vestibules within the premises of financial institutions. These machines are likely to be very well guardedand regularly inspected.
Consistently use the same ATM
Limiting your use to just one or two ATMs will help you become familiar with those machines. You are more likely to notice changes made to the machine’s external features, which may indicate that it has been tampered with.It may have been fitted with a skimming device or a camera that can be used to spy on customers as they type their PIN codes. If you notice something about the ATM that doesn’t seem to be right, contact your credit union immediately.
Check your account balances frequently
Be aware of any unusual money transfers or withdrawals that happen in your account. Your credit union may be able to send you withdrawal alerts by text message, email, or by mobile phone app notification, so make sure that you are subscribed to such facilities as well. In the event that you can become a victim of fraud, you’ll be able to notify your credit union immediately so you can dispute the charges.
Be wary of criminals lurking around
Never trust suspicious strangers lurking around the ATM. A thief can rig the machine so that when you use your card, it gets “eaten” in the process. This will give an opportunity for the crook to offer you “help” and ask for your PIN code. Of course, your card will remain trapped in the device, and it will be only when you’ve already left that the thief will try to retrieve the card.
Don’t let your card out of your sight
If you’re going to use your payment card in business establishments like restaurants or clothing shops, make sure that you can see where they are taking and putting your card. If, for instance the restaurant server doesn’t carry a portable card reader and has to take your card where you can’t see it, opt to pay in cash instead.
Choose EMV payment cards
If your credit union offers EMV-enabled payment cards, choose these over the regular magnetic strip cards. As already mentioned, cards with EMV chips offer more protection against card-present transaction fraud.
Being vigilant about the usual ways ATM fraud is committed will help you prevent your hard-earned cash from ending up in the clutches of crooks. Also learn about what your credit union is doing to protect members like you from criminal activities. Take advantage of technological tools like EMV cards and mobile app alerts to add a layer of protection to your credit union account.