Protect Your Christmas Cash From ATM Skimmers

Crimes went up 22 percent last year on the Internet, gas stations and ATM's.

With the holidays right around the corner more Texomans will be hitting up the ATM's for some Christmas cash.

To protect your account and your identity, Newschannel 6 Lindsey Rogers has some safety tips you need to hear.

As you swipe your card and punch in that pin, con artists may be stealing your personal information.

"We have a lot more people shopping and buying stuff and going to ATM's more than usual so, during the holidays we see a lot more," Officer Brian Bohn said.

Thieves use electronic devices called skimmers that capture your account information on the magnetic strip of a debit or credit card.

They often install them in ATM's, gas pumps or even retail store check outs.

"We say, give it a wiggle. These skimming devices are placed on the outside of the machine so wiggle it before you put your card in," President of the North Central Texas Better Business Bureau Monica Horton said.

Research estimates one in five people have become a victim of ATM scams which can lead to problems much bigger than just petty cash.

"Clean out your bank account, savings, charge large amounts on credit cards, use your information to rent property, buy cars, and even a house," Officer Bohn said.

It's hard to catch these criminals, so, it's important you take steps to protect yourself.

"Use one that's under video surveillance or go to one that's inside the lobby of a bank," Officer Bohn said.

But, be sure if there are video cameras around, they're not pointed directly at the key pad. Just in case, protect your pin.

"Anytime you enter in your pin cover the keypad with your other hand," Officer Bohn said.

But, most importantly, be observant and always be on the look out for anything suspicious.

Be sure to shred any receipts, even if they only show the last few digits of your account.

Also, keep an eye on your statements and look for any suspicious activity or charges.

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6