New Michigan Scam: If You See This at an ATM, Don’t Use It!
Beware of good Samaritans, especially if you're using an ATM. A new scam may drain your account and you could technically be to blame.
I would like to say thank you to financial institutions for improving ATMs. It used to be it would take your card, give you cash and you walked away, not realizing you'd left your card in the machine! You would either have to race back before someone else uses that machine or get there before the machine eats your card (I fed at least 3 of them to these machines over the years). Now banks still take your card and lock it in, but they will then ask that you take it out before you get your money, saving you the embarrassment of losing another card. This innovation has led to a new opportunity for theft.
The latest scam from industrious thieves involves either gluing the ATM card slot shut or jamming a piece of cardboard into the machine to block it. A 'helpful party' is standing by to tell you that the reader is broken and you should use the tap card method option. The tap method only works with cards that have chips, just like card machines in most retailers.
Though this may seem innocent enough, more than likely the good Samaritan is responsible for the state the card reader, wants you to tap your card to be read and then place it back in your wallet, pocket or purse. The hopeful criminal then waits to see if you end your ATM transaction properly, since you won't be reminded to take your card before ending the session.
If you forget to log out or end the transaction, your pin has already been entered and your account could be drained. This is a one time window for the thief to slide in and take the maximum amount allowed from your account. Fraud can be difficult to prove in these situations since your pin was entered and it appears to be an authorized transaction.
How can you avoid falling victim to this scam? Here are a few preventative measures you can take:
1. End your transaction and be sure you are logged off.
2. Try to avoid ATMs with lines if at all possible.
3. Check your statements regularly to detect fraudulent transactions early.
4. Always be aware of your environment.
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