Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders’ PINs. Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal from victims’ accounts. It is estimated that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.
- Fuel pump skimmers are usually attached in the internal wiring of the machine and aren’t visible to the customer.
- The skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.
Tips When Using a Fuel Pump
- Choose a fuel pump that is closer to the store and in direct view of the attendant. These pumps are less likely to be targets for skimmers.
- Run your debit card as a credit card. If that’s not an option, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.
- Consider paying inside with the attendant, not outside at the pump.
- ATM skimmer devices usually fit over the original card reader.
- Some ATM skimmers are inserted in the card reader, placed in the terminal, or situated along exposed cables.
- Pinhole cameras installed on ATMs record a customer entering their PIN. Pinhole camera placement varies widely.
- In some cases, keypad overlays are used instead of pinhole cameras to records PINs. Keypad overlays record a customer’s keystrokes.
- Skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.
Tips When Using an ATM or POS Terminal
- Inspect ATMs, POS terminals, and other card readers before using. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged, or scratched. Don't use any card reader if you notice anything unusual.
- Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry.
- Use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location, which are less vulnerable targets.
- Be alert for skimming devices in tourist areas, which are popular targets.
- Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data.
- Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead.
- Contact your financial institution if the ATM doesn't return your card after you end or cancel a transaction.
Related FBI News and Multimedia
Akop Dongelyan of Glendale was sentenced to 364 days in prison for conspiring to commit credit and debit card fraud.
Artak Vardanyan of Burbank was sentenced to 11 months in prison for conspiring to commit credit and debit card fraud.
Six defendants indicted for defrauding credit unions across the country have pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and identity theft charges.
On November 23, 2023, Romanian law enforcement, in coordination with the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, conducted enforcement operations targeting 84 locations in Romania.
Christos Mavrokelos was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with using debit card skimming devices on bank ATMs to steal victims’ debit card information.
Five men who were indicted for their roles in an automated teller machine theft scheme are considered fugitives and are being sought.
Yuny Hurtado Rodriguez, of Cutler Bay, Florida, has been sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in an access device fraud conspiracy.
Arley Gonzalez was sentenced to more than two years in prison for his role in an access device fraud conspiracy.
Yofre Napoleon Almonte was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty in a gas skimming scheme.
Hugo Hernandez and Marlon Palacios of Florida were sentenced to prison for an access device fraud conspiracy and a money laundering conspiracy.