Lost or Stolen Debit Card
If you suspect unauthorized use of your card or if your card is lost or stolen, report this immediately by calling the LOST OR STOLEN CARD HOT LINE 1-800-500-1044.
ATM Safety Tips
Here are some important safety tips to remember when using your MasterCard / Debit Card:
Thieves have designed what are referred to as “ATM skimmers” to swipe your card and bank information as you swipe your card. These skimmers are utilized by thieves all over the world, so it’s a good idea to pay extra attention to that bank machine before you put your card in the slot.
An ATM skimmer is a device that is placed over the slot where you’d insert your card into an existing bank machine (and, in some cases, other card readers like the ones at self-serve gas stations).
They’re designed to look exactly like the real machine they’re covering, and sometimes they’re even more detailed than the actual machine, so that the extra bits of plastic and metal can disguise more pieces of the skimmer.
When you insert your debit or credit card into a cash machine, there’s a reader on the inside of the machine that interprets the information on your card’s magnetic strip, and that, coupled with the PIN you type into the keypad, gives you access to the money in your bank accounts.
If you put your card into a bank machine that has a skimmer device on it, the ATM isn’t the only thing reading your card information – the skimmer also has a reader in it that records the information on your card’s magnetic strip. Without your PIN, however, even the information on the magnetic strip wouldn’t be enough for a thief to get at your account – which is why the second element of an ATM skimmer is a tiny pinhole somewhere over the keypad that hides a mini-camera. As soon as you insert your card into an ATM with a skimmer device, the camera is activated and it records your movements – and, therefore, your PIN.
Because ATM skimmers are placed over existing card slots on real and legitimate cash machines, you’re still able to go through your transaction as if nothing has happened. Or, in some cases, the screen will tell you there’s been a malfunction – but it will look like a normal error message from the bank. It’s only later that the information the skimmer gathered will be used to access your account.
It’s easy to mistake a bank machine that’s been tampered with for a perfectly safe place to withdraw money.
There are many different kinds of skimmers, too. Some of them are, frankly, easier to spot than others.
- How to protect yourself from ATM skimmers
The first thing to make sure of when you’re using an ATM – whether it’s the cash machine you use often at home or an unfamiliar machine you’re using while traveling – is that you’re paying closer attention than most people usually do to the machine itself. Does it look like there’s a piece of metal or plastic around the card reader that could easily come off if you pulled on it? Is there a pinhole in a piece of equipment right above the keypad?
Whether or not you’re using a bank machine that’s familiar to you, it’s never a bad idea to somehow cover your hand as you’re typing your PIN into the keypad. As mentioned, it’s the combination of the information on your card’s magnetic strip and the PIN the camera records that gives the thieves complete access to your bank account, so without your PIN they’ll have a much bigger hurdle to climb over to get at your money.
Using cash machines in very public areas can be a good way to avoid machines that are targets for skimmers in the first place, as they offer less opportunity for thieves to install and later remove the skimmers without being seen. Bank machines can be found inside grocery or convenience stores, and sometimes there are bank machines inside the banks to which they’re attached. When in doubt, these machines are a better bet simply because there’s always someone “watching” them.
Finally, even when you’re traveling it’s a good idea to check in with your bank account online every so often if you can. So a day or so after each transaction, log into your account online to find out if anything other than your transactions are showing up, it may give you enough of a heads-up to stop any further theft.
And in any situation, if you have one of those “funny feelings” about a bank machine, don’t put your card in it – find another machine and use it instead.
When at a gas pump, verify the security tape over the gas pump cabinets hasn't been tampered with.If the security tape is removed, cut, or the gas pump pump appears to be tampered with, do not use it.