CHICAGO, IL – October 25, 2012- Even if you’re cautious
about which ATMs you use or stores you shop at, you could still become a victim
of identity theft. ATM skimming is a growing problem and the Better Business
Bureau serving Chicago
and Northern Illinois (BBB) recommends that consumers take steps to protect
themselves from becoming a victim.
There are a number of ways thieves steal a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
In some cases, thieves or accomplice employees can swap out the entire PIN pad
with one that captures data. Once a consumer swipes their card through the fake
card reader, their account information is sent to the scammer, leaving the
consumer vulnerable to I.D. theft. In addition, thieves may use hidden cameras
attached near a machine to record the consumer’s hand movements to obtain their
personal identification number.
“Beware of suspicions looking
individuals, or devices that may have been tampered with,” said
Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
“Always be on the look out for strange activity on your account and check it
Consumers who use bank cards
are encouraged to monitor their statements, report suspicious account activity
and change debit-card PIN numbers and other account security settings.
The BBB recommends the following ways to fight
identity thieves when using a debit or credit card:
Protect your PIN – When entering your PIN,
cover the keypad with your other hand to prevent any cameras from catching your
digits. False keypads placed over the real keypad are also a way scammers get
PIN numbers so if the keypad looks different, move on.
Keep an eye on your statements – The
most vigilant person can still fall victim to ATM skimmers, and it’s important
to always keep a close eye on your accounts—particularly the itemized breakdown
of charges and debits—so that you can quickly report any suspicious activity on
Report fraud immediately – Report
any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it. Consumer
protections for debit cards vary but depend largely on when you report the
fraudulent activity and sooner is always better. If you wait too long to report
the fraud, your bank account could be cleaned out and your bank may not
For more advice on fighting identity theft and preventing
fraud, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the
purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace.
BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation
and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices
and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses
and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or
charity before making a purchase or donatio