Identity thieves are attaching credit card skimmers to machines in order to get the card’s information, according to WTVM News Leader 9. The theft devices are placed over the area of the machine where you insert your card. When you swipe your card, you won’t see the skimmer, though—in fact, the only way to know if it’s safe to insert your card is to pull on the area immediately around the slot.
To ensure you’re not getting scammed, you should always tug the card insert area before you pay, according to Lieutenant Jason Fetner from Cowetta County, Georgia. “You’re not going to damage or destroy an ATM by pulling on it and checking to make sure there’s nothing wrong with it,” he told WTVM News Leader 9. Thieves usually don’t spend long affixing the skimmer to the machines because of the risk of getting caught. You won’t need any tools to check for one—all you’ll have to do is pull the card slot area to see if you were about to be swindled.
You should also be on the lookout for small surveillance cameras pointing at the keypad. Look all around the machine, not just the most obvious spots. Thieves can use your card a lot easier if they can also see you enter your pin number or zip code, so always cover the keypad with your hand, even if you don’t see a camera.