8 Crucial Ways to Protect Yourself from ATM and Mobile Security FraudJanuary 17, 2020


By: Carolyn Giunco Kvalo, CPA/CGMA, CFE, Managing Partner

Anyone who has a bank account or credit card runs the risk of being defrauded. Learn how to protect yourself from ATM and mobile security fraud in this article.

Did you know that more than 15 million Americans are victims of identity theft every year?

Identity theft and fraud are serious crimes, and ones that can follow you for years, or even decades. Victims of identity theft can have money stolen from their bank account, loans taken out in their names, and even money stolen from their businesses.

It is important to protect your identity on every front. Once it is stolen in one place, this information can be used to access other parts of your identity.

Want to learn more about ways to protect yourself from fraud? Read here to learn more.

Targeting Weak Points

To get access to your identity, scammers tend to target weak points where you are using your information in a less protected way. This includes when you are using mobile devices, or when you are using a credit or debit card at places like the ATM or the gas pump.

It is important to be aware of the risks presented by your daily activities. Let’s take a closer look at how to protect yourself in each scenario.

ATM Protection

Scammers know that there are certain actions we take as part of our daily lives: getting money from the ATM, buying a drink from the coffee shop, and filling up the car with gas are all examples.

This is why it’s important to take certain precautions when using your debit card. Let’s take a look at a few.

1. Cover Your PIN
These days, someone doesn’t have to be standing behind you to catch a glimpse of your PIN. Scammers can place hidden cameras to view your PIN. When you’re entering the number, make sure to cover it with your hand.

2. Watch for Skimmers
In addition to cameras, some scammers put a device called a skimmer on an ATM or gas station pump to collect your information. There are a few warning signs you can watch for to see if there is a skimmer.

First, look at the ATM. Sometimes scammers will put another keyboard over the original one that can collect your PIN.

Next, feel the card scanner. If it is unstable or moves around, don’t use it. This is a sign that it has been tampered with.

3. Check Your Balances
With identity theft, it’s important to find out that you’ve been compromised as soon as possible. This makes it easier to prevent further fallout.

Scammers will often make a few smaller purchases with a stolen debit card before making a large purchase. Check your balance frequently so that you will know right away whether any suspicious charges emerge.

You can also sign up for account alerts. This way, you will get a message right away if there is a charge that wasn’t made by you.

4. Keep Money in Your Savings Account
One way to prevent money from being stolen from your checking account is to keep only a small amount of money in there. This will limit the amount of funds that are left vulnerable. Keep a larger portion of money in an account that you do not use a debit card for.

5. Switch to Electronic Statements
If you receive paper statements, you are essentially having personal information left in your mailbox once a month. This makes it easier for scammers to intercept those details. By receiving those statements electronically, you are able to keep that information more secure.

Mobile Security Protection

Of course, we are using mobile devices and online resources to access our money more now than ever. This has led scammers to seek out opportunities to access your information through your mobile device. There are some important steps you can take to protect yourself.

6. Keep Your Operating System Updated
It can be annoying when you get a message on your phone that it needs to restart and install an update. But these updates are important. In many cases, they include security protection.

7. Do Not Share Private Information on Public WiFi
Public WiFi is fine for checking your email or watching a cat video. But if you want to make a deposit in your bank account or do some online shopping, save those activities for your at-home internet.

Public WiFi is not as secure as your home’s WiFi. Doing financial activities over public WiFi can make that information vulnerable to scammers.

8. Do Not Click on Strange Texts
Sometimes, scammers will try to gather your information or install malware on your device by sending strange texts to your phone. These are similar to “phishing” scams that are sent to emails with bad links or attachments.

In these texts, scammers may pretend to be a financial institution. They may send a text claiming that you overdrew your bank account, or, ironically, that there was a suspicious charge.

If you signed up for mobile alerts from your bank, save their number in your phone so you will know when you’ve received an actual text from them. If you receive a suspicious text, do not click on the link. This can be a tool to download a virus on your phone which can then be used to gather your private information.

Implement These Ways to Protect Yourself From Fraud Today
By practicing these ways to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft, you will be able to keep your information secure and uncompromised.

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