2 Men Accused Of Using ATM Skimmer To Take $500K From US Bank Customers

If you’re hitting the road this holiday weekend, you might find yourself visiting some unfamiliar gas stations, ATMs, or kiosks that accept credit cards. The recent arrest in California of two men who are accused of draining $500,000 from US Bank customers’ accounts should remind people across the country and all over the world: be careful where you swipe your debit card, and be protective of your PIN.

KCAL reports that the two men are suspected of multiple skimmer thefts, and they were caught in a sting by police. In these incidents, the suspects used a super-thin device about as wide as a credit card that captures the information on a card’s magnetic strip, and a pinhole camera fitted inside a device that blends in with the rest of the ATM.

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Here’s how to protect yourself from skimmer crimes:

Use a credit card instead of a debit card, if you have one: you’ll have a chance to dispute the charges and won’t have to fight to get the cash back after it’s removed from your account.

Cover your hand when entering your PIN: this is a tricky maneuver when using a drive-up ATM, but will keep a pinhole camera from capturing your digits. This keeps scammers from taking cash or cash advances out from your account.

Jiggle any pieces of the ATM or kiosk that don’t seem to fit: if something looks like it isn’t part of the machine, it might be an extra card reader or a container for a pinhole camera.