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Fight Against Credit Card Skimming and Fraudulent Transactions

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The risk of being compromised by a credit and debit card skimmer has significantly increased in recent years, with FICO reporting a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of payment cards compromised at U.S. ATMs and point-of-sale devices in 2017.

Criminals attach a skimmer to a card terminal at places like ATMs, gas stations, restaurants and other merchants, and the skimmer captures the account details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe. They use the stolen data to made fraudulent purchases or create counterfeit cards. If they skim a debit card, criminals can also access your PIN and withdraw cash from your bank account.

As long as any card – from credit and debit cards to gift cards – has a magnetic stripe, it can be susceptible to being compromised. That makes it important to be proactive and act swiftly if skimming does occur. Below is a list of ways you can fight against skimming and fraudulent transactions.


THINK MOBILE It isn’t applicable to all merchants yet, but using Mobile Wallet is a great way to ward off a potential credit card skimmer. With mobile wallet, you don’t have to insert your card. Instead you use your phone and tap it to make the transaction. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay all offer convenience and safety from skimmers.

Your card numbers aren’t ever stored on your mobile device, creating an added level of security. The account number for your card is replaced with a randomized digital account number that represents your information. If a criminal accesses your device’s data, they can’t turn the digital account number into anything useful, like a duplicate card.

You can add any and all of your debit and credit cards as long as they have an EMV chip, and stay assured your account numbers are never stored. It’s not available for use at every merchant, but when you can, it’s a great option to keep skimmers at bay.

UPDATE YOUR INFO Make sure we have your most up to date info (address and cell phone number) for every card you have, so we can contact you immediately if there is a situation with your card.


BE CONSISTENT With mobile banking and online banking, it’s easy to check your balance frequently and conveniently. Make a point to check your balances on your phone each morning with your coffee, or when you’re relaxing and scrolling through your phone in the evening.

It’s simple, doesn’t take long and can add tremendous peace of mind in the process. Plus, it’s an easy step to minimize your card possibly getting skimmed for a large amount or for a long period of time. Noticing it immediately as opposed to 10 days later can save you significantly. Plus, we can turn off the card right away and get you a new one.

Staying up to date is also a great habit even if you haven’t been skimmed.

SET ALERTS With mobile banking and online banking, you can take advantage of account alerts so you get notified if there’s a transaction over the amount you set.

Additionally, you can set a transaction radius so the card can’t be used outside a designated area, and block your card from being used at certain merchant categories you select. If any of these alerts come up, you’ll be notified immediately and if they are not authorized transactions, we turn the card off.

Having this in place won’t prevent a skimming incident, but it can help you rectify the situation quickly.


RULES IN PLACE We have fraud rules in place to help identify suspicious activity based on your transaction history, performing extensive data analysis to help minimize risk. If we notice a potential “red flag,” we communicate with you via text or phone call to verify you initiated the transaction and determine if there has been potential skimming or fraud.

For instance, if we notice there was a transaction from a merchant you have blocked, we will contact you to see if you made the purchase. If it wasn’t you, we turn off the card.

TAKE ADVANTAGE From mobile wallet to online banking to account alerts, there’s a variety of tools at your fingertips to fight potential skimming. Make sure you take advantage.


SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING If an ATM looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly, consider going somewhere else for your cash. Also be sure to report a potential faulty ATM to the bank so nobody else’s information is stolen if the machine is compromised.

AVOID YOUR PIN If possible, it is best to choose the credit option when you are given the choice to use your card as credit or debit. This way you’re not entering your PIN in sight of a possible skimmer card camera.

A QUICK CHECK Assess the card reader for signs of tampering like a broken seal, check to see if the color and style match on the reader, and make sure the card reader isn’t loose. All are signs a card skimmer could be installed. It doesn’t take long to perform a quick check on the machine and it could make a big difference if you spot a warning sign.


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