How to protect yourself from ATM skimmers

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In this Dec. 17, 2015 photo, a New York City Police detective holds a credit card skimmer that was used by a street gang to copy metadata from legitimate credit cards for use in the manufacture of counterfeit cards and possibly identity theft. A new trend is emerging that shows street crews and local gangs […]

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thieves are always trying to take your hard earned money. One way is by stealing credit and debit card information through an ATM skimmer.

A skimmer covers the legitimate card reader and routes the account information to thieves, who then make fake cards with your information.

Portland Police Fraud Detective Brian Sitton has the following tips to make sure you’re not getting ripped off:

  • Don’t be afraid to pull or twist on a machine to make sure it’s real.
  • Use the same ATM every time so you know what it’s supposed to look like.
  • Keep an eye on your account daily via your bank’s app.
  • When traveling, use cash or a credit card.

Sitton also shares this tip from a fellow detective who recently went on vacation.

“She opened a special account, put all her travel funds in at the bank, not attached to her other accounts so if it was compromised then it was only the funds she put aside for her travel taken, not all her savings.”

Sitton also says cards with a chip aren’t necessarily any safer because there is still a magnetic strip on the back.

“If I take that card, put it through the ATM, whether it reads the chip or the magnetic stripe, that card has to go through a card reader slot that reads the magnetic stripe,” says Sitton.

Sitton says even though most banks, credit unions and credit card companies will reimburse for theft, Sitton says don’t be afraid to be proactive.

“It’s your money, you should take time to protect yourself.”

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