How to Avoid Being a Victim of ATM Skimming

ATM skinning
ATM skinning

The next time you're in a rush to grab some cash from an ATM or fill up at the gas pump, take a few extra seconds and check over the machine before swiping your card. Otherwise, you could fall victim to a skimmer, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned recently.

The FBI's warning came a day after a Bulgarian national was sentenced to 21 months in prison for taking part in a scheme that used ATM skimming devices to steal more than $1.8 million from at least 1,400 bank accounts in the New York City area.

What makes ATM skimming insidious is that thieves attach devices to the ATM that go undetected by the consumers -- they look like just another part of the ATM. Those units then collect information from the card's magnetic strip, storing it or sending it to the criminals, the FBI said. Small cameras can also be used to record the consumer's hand movements to obtain the PIN number for the card.