How to protect yourself vs ATM skimming

Posted at 07/07/2014 4:40 PM | Updated as of 07/09/2014 9:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines – More and more automated machine teller (ATM) card users are being victimized by fraud through skimming, or the act of cloning an ATM or credit card.

Financial adviser Salve Duplito said ATM users should be more vigilant in making ATM withdrawals to prevent fraudsters from duplicating cards and withdrawing cash without the users’ knowledge.

Skimming fraudsters steal user data by inserting a device into an ATM that copies data from the card’s magnetic stripe. These devices can create a duplicate card using the data.

Small cameras are usually installed at ATMs to capture the users’ PIN code.

To protect yourself from skimming, Duplito suggests doing transactions in well-lighted ATMs, preferably with security guards nearby.

Duplito also advised placing your hands over the keypad when punching in your PIN code.

“Covering your hand is not overacting. It is a smart way of protecting your money from an increasing number of skimming devices out there,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

However, Duplito said these techniques will only go so far, stressing that the most effective way to protect depositors and credit card holders is for the banking industry to migrate to purely chip-based cards.

Duplito said that the Philippines remains to be the only Asian country that uses magnetic stripes.

She said that according to reports, fraudsters caught on closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in several incidents in a street in Greenhills were all foreign-looking.

“Fraudsters from other countries are here, trying to get hold of your money,” she said.

Duplito said data on chips are far more secure compared to magnetic stripes, but noted that the problem is that migrating to purely chip-based cards will cost billions of pesos.

She is urging card users to immediately report cases of skimming, as the process of claiming stolen money from ATMs may take as long as six months.

“To all depositors and credit card holders out there: take the time to complain immediately when you suspect that your card has been cloned. Document your correspondence with the banks. They will and should return your money,” she said.