An ATM skimmer was discovered at the OceanFirst Bank on Brick Boulevard in Brick this weekend, but not before several users' card numbers and PINs were recorded, and multiple fraudulent transactions made.

How can you protect yourself from this kind of thing?

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Unfortunately, ATM skimmer devices are getting harder and harder to notice. They are often pieces of metal or plastic that fit perfectly over the machines and look identical to the card readers and keypads.

There are a few things you can look for to try to keep your information -- and money -- safe:

  • Look for any evidence of scratches, tape, or glue around the card reader or keypad. The skimmer devices are often only meant to be attached to machines temporarily, using a relatively weak adhesive. (You can also try to *gently* tug on the card reader...any movement is probably a bad sign.)
  • Cover the keypad with your hand when you enter your PIN. Depending on the type of skimming device used, a tiny camera might be focused on the keypad to record your PIN as you enter it. Simply covering the keys makes it harder for thieves to get your necessary information and steal your money!
  • Check your account information often. I try to check my accounts at least once a day, so I can call my bank immediately if I notice something is wrong. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to recover your stolen funds (and the more thieves can potentially steal from you.)
  • Trust your instincts! If something about the ATM seems shady, DON'T USE IT. It's better to be safe than sorry!