devices are used by criminals to capture the data stored on a debit or credit
card’s magnetic strip, such as the name, card number, and expiration date. Recently,
there have been several reports of skimming devices found on ATMs and other
devices in our area. Two were discovered at ATMs at Cumberland Farms locations
in Attleboro, and another at Cumberland Farms in Walpole. A skimming device was
also found on a gas station pump in Bedford. The suspects in these incidents
appear to be the same individuals for the three ATMs. It is possible that they
have skimmers on other ATMs as well that have not yet been found. Gas stations
are especially vulnerable seeing how the pumps are generally not monitored.
While Middlesex Savings Bank has converted to chip-enabled debit cards, not all
merchants or banks have converted to accept this technology.
not a new tactic used by criminals; however, there has been an increase in
activity as they try to obtain as many card numbers as they can before all financial
institutions convert their cards and ATMs to chip technology. As you may
recall, Middlesex Savings Bank converted all of its customers debit cards to
this new chip and PIN technology in September, ahead of the federal deadline
and is on track to convert its ATMs as well.
While it is
alarming to think that you could unknowingly be a victim of ATM or card
skimming, there are measures you can take to protect yourself. First, inspect the
ATM that you may be using for signs of possible tampering. Report any
suspicious devices to the bank’s call center or nearest branch. If you notice a
suspicious device on other terminals, such as a gas station pump, be sure to
notify the owner or manager of the business.
One sign that a card reader has a skimming device attached is that it may appear as if it has been bumped loose; it might wiggle and not be
securely affixed to the machine. The keypad may also appear to be loose.
shows a typical Middlesex Savings Bank ATM card reader. It is already considerably bulky,
which makes it hard for a criminal to place another device over it. Even if you
are using an ATM with a bulky card reader, it is wise not to just assume it is
safe. It is still worth a quick inspection to see if anything looks awry.