Take care when using automatic teller machines

Scammers abound. Photo: Getty Images
Scammers abound. Photo: Getty Images

ATM users have been warned to stay vigilant and protect their details after unconfirmed reports of skimming devices found on cash machines.

Weekend Facebook posts alleged two devices had been discovered on automatic teller machines at the ANZ and Commonwealth Bank sites in Sturt St, Ballarat,  but neither police nor banks had received reports of unauthorised withdrawals or customer losses late yesterday.

“While we are not aware of any skimming activity at this location, ANZ ATMs are equipped with anti-skimming features and we will be monitoring for suspicious card activity,” an ANZ spokesman said. 

The Commonwealth Bank also investigated but found no record of illegal activity.

“We can confirm there was no skimming device placed on the CBA ATM in Sturt Street, Ballarat,” a spokesperson said.

“Security of our customers’ banking details is a top priority.”

Most commonly, skimming machines read and record the magnetic strip of a card when placed through a false slot on the ATM, and a small camera records the keystrokes of the customer entering their PIN.

Criminals then remove the devices and download the data which can be used to make unauthorised transactions on a customer’s account.

Most devices are highly sophisticated and difficult for the untrained eye to detect, but covering your PIN number when entering it on the keypad is one of the easiest ways to prevent your account being hacked as both inputs are needed for criminals to access an account.

Representatives of both banks said scams and illegal activity could occur from time to time, but assured customers they were covered with full reimbursement of funds taken in unauthorised transactions.

“ANZ will cover any losses for our customers who are victims of fraud, including card skimming, provided they have not contributed to the fraud in any way,” the ANZ spokesman said.

The Commonwealth Bank advised ensuring no one could see you entering your PIN when using the ATM.

“To protect your PIN details, cover your hand when entering your PIN at an ATM and be discreet when withdrawing cash.”

Checking your bank account and credit card statements for transactions you cannot explain, and reporting them to your bank, is also key to halting credit card fraud.