Today’s scam of the day comes from Aspen Colorado. I just returned from a vacation in Aspen. Aspen is a great place to visit anytime of year. Unfortunately, while I was there, identity thieves were also there judging by the uncovering of a skimmer at a local bank’s ATM. As regular followers of this blog are aware, skimmers are small devices that can be attached to ATMs so that when you believe you are inserting your ATM card into the ATM, you are actually also inserting it into the skimmer that reads the information on your card and make it easy for identity thieves to use that information to gain access to your bank accounts. Often skimmers are used in conjunction with small cameras that watch and record as you input your PIN into the ATM. Although this latest skimming incident involved a bank ATM, skimmers have also been installed on gas pumps as well as other devices through which you insert your credit card for a financial transaction.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Before you use an ATM, look for signs that may indicate that it has been tampered with, such as glue, tape or even if the card reader does not appear to be terribly secure. When you input your PIN, cover the pad with your hand so that a disguised camera will not be able to read your card. Be particularly wary of ATMs in vacation spots, because they are favorite hunting grounds for identity thieves. If possible use an ATM that is inside a bank where there is less of likelihood that the machine has been tampered with. Finally, make sure that you constantly monitor your account so that you can recognize immediately if unauthorized charges have been made from your account so that you can report the theft to the bank immediately.