Business LoansAccounts Style 02Car LoansCheckingCredit CardsDigital BankingAccounts Style 01Home Equity LoansInsuranceInvestingMembershipMortgagePersonal LoansRV, Boat, Motorcycle LoansSavings
Skip to main content
Back to Scams & Fraud

ATM Skimming Scams

Featured Image
A young woman using an ATM machine.

ATM skimming is a crime where fraudsters install a device on an ATM to collect card data which they use to produce fake debit cards to withdraw funds.

How does card skimming work?

Fraudsters install skimming devices on ATMs to collect card data when the card is inserted. They collect PIN information by using a small camera disguised as a legitimate part of the machine. To avoid detection, fraudsters often install the devices and then remove them after just a short time.

Fraudulent transactions using information from skimmed cards may take weeks or months to occur.

Card skimming has affected many financial institutions throughout the U.S. Criminals have also been known to install skimming devices at gas pumps, stores, and other locations.

How can you protect yourself from this scam?

Skimming devices can come in many forms and are difficult to detect. There are, however, a few things you can do to help avoid becoming a victim and to limit your exposure.

  • Take a good look at an ATM before you use it. If something seems unusual or out of place, don’t use it and report it right away.
  • When entering your PIN on any device, use your other hand to shield your PIN from view of hidden cameras or people watching.
  • Change your debit card PIN periodically.
  • As always, review your account information and statements regularly and report any unauthorized transactions to your financial institution immediately. Online and Mobile Banking are good ways to review your accounts at anytime and as often as you like. Consider setting up low balance alerts on your accounts to help you spot unusual withdrawals.

What if this scam happens to me?

Report suspicious transactions immediately to your financial institution. At Virginia Credit Union, cardholders have $0 liability, which means that you pay nothing in the event of unauthorized transactions. To report a suspicious transaction involving your VACU debit or credit card, call Card Services at (800) 449-7728, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.