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What is ATM tampering and how can I protect myself?

ATM tampering is a scam in which thieves attach devices to an ATM in order to obtain your card number and PIN (personal identification number). They then use this information to create a counterfeit card. This is typically done by attaching card skimmers to machines to copy the information stored on the card's magnetic strip. The thief then hides a miniature camera near the keypad to learn the PIN.

Here are a few simple tips to protect yourself from ATM tampering and/or skimming devices:

  • Use familiar ATMs. Well-lit ATMs and indoor ATMs that are under video surveillance are less likely to be subject to skimming attempts than ATMs in hidden or poorly lit areas.
  • Examine the ATM before inserting your card. Check to see if anything looks loose or damaged, or if there are traces of adhesive tape, glue residue, exposed wires, or anything that looks "off." Tug gently on the card reader. If it moves or pulls away from the machine, it may have been tampered with. If you see something unusual, contact the ATM owner immediately so they can investigate.
  • Protect your PIN. Always shield your PIN with your hand when you type it into the keypad. If the ATM does have a skimmer, this is the best way to protect yourself from fraud.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Never use an ATM if someone is standing too close or lingering nearby. 
  • Report any issues immediately. If your card is not returned to you or the cash is not disbursed, contact the ATM owner immediately.
  • Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your account balances through online banking or by reviewing your account statements.

If you suspect fraud has occurred on your RCU account, please contact us immediately at 1 (800) 479-7928.