ATM skimmers found in Petaluma, Rohnert Park: How to protect yourself, according to the FBI

Skimming devices have recently been reported in Petaluma and Rohnert Park, according to authorities. Petaluma police said in a Tuesday Facebook post announcing the discoveries at the unnamed ATMs that the skimmers “can be difficult to notice.” So, how can users protect themselves?

According to the FBI, skimming machines, illegal machines that can capture and store PINs and other account information, can be placed on top of ATMs and on credit card readers at places like fuel pumps.

ATM skimmers are usually placed on top of the original card reader and can include a pinhole camera or keypad reader that records customers entering their PINs into the machine.

The FBI has the following tips for ATM users:

– Inspect the ATM before using it, looking for anything unusual such as loose, cracked, crooked or damaged parts.

– Pull at the edges of the keypad to ensure there is not an overlaid device, and cover the keypad when entering your PIN to block any camera from recording the number.

– Use ATMs in well-lit areas and be on extra alert in tourist areas, which are popular targets.

– Use ATM cards with chip technology, as there are fewer skimming devices that can steal data from these chips compared to the magnetic strip on older cards.

At gas stations, the FBI recommends:

– Choosing a pump in clear view of the gas station attendant, as they are less likely to be targeted by credit card skimmers.

– Use your debit card as a credit card to avoid having to enter your PIN. If that is not an option, be sure to cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

– Consider paying inside with the attendant rather than at the pump.

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