Reduce ATM Fraud By Getting Members To Do Their Part

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Credit unions and banks have worked hard at making it easier to transact business. Along with all the convenience however, come additional dangers. Thankfully, if members are reminded to take a few simple precautions, it can eliminate nearly all the risks.

The industry has seen a jump in ATM fraud recently and the Sacramento area has seen more than its share. Crooks have recently been successful in placing a skimming device and overhead cameras on ATMs in Sacramento. The crooks are able to create a new ATM card with information from the skimmer and match it with the overhead camera capture of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) being entered. With this information they have all they need to start withdrawing cash and purchase merchandise with your money.

Some of these crooks are very sophisticated and connected. The information they have gathered can and is transmitted anywhere in the world and the first sign something is wrong is when the member sees an unauthorized transactions on your account from as far away as Europe or Asia.

The industry is combating the actions of these crooks with technology. However, the implementation is seldom cheap and there is a considerable time lag before the latest technology is installed. The crooks are then generally on to the next scam. Members need to know that Yolo Federal Credit Union and most financial institutions will take quick action to replace a compromised ATM card and not charge the member for verified unauthorized transactions. We also regularly check our ATMs for any unusual device or unauthorized cameras.

But members also need to be made aware they can help in cutting down ATM fraud, saving all of us the hassle and expense of replacing ATM cards and having our information end up in the wrong hands.

First, members must be reminded to protect their PIN by following these tips: Don't write your PIN on the card or anywhere else. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN and don't share the number with anyone. If possible, keep your eye on your card if the clerk takes it from you to swipe it-it only needs to be run through one machine to enact the charge.

Members should also be encouraged to take a second and look around when using the ATM. Does the ATM look unusual or have something added on where members enter their card? They should look up to see if a camera is trained on the key pad-security cameras do not point that direction. If it looks weird or something is out of place, the member should find another ATM. It is true that most fraudulent ATM transactions occur at night so, if possible, members should do their transactions during the day.

Finally, members must be reminded that it is very important to check their account for fraudulent withdrawals and report any unauthorized transactions right away.

Clyde Brooker, President/CEO

Yolo Federal Credit Union

Sacramento, Calif.

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