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ATM Fraud Soars — 7 Ways to Protect Your Debit Card

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The number of payment cards compromised at U.S. ATMs and merchants is up 70% in 2016, and the number of hacked card readers at U.S. ATMs, restaurants and merchants soared 30% in 2016. 

FICO® Card Alert Service also reports the average duration of a compromise fell from 14 days in 2015 to 11.

This new data follows a 546% increase in compromised ATMs from 2014 to 2015.

As in 2015, the most compromises occurred at non-bank ATMs, such as those in convenience stores. About 60% of compromises were at non-bank ATMs, with the rest occurring at bank ATMs or point-of-sale (POS) devices, such as card payment machines at retailers. These figures cover only card fraud occurring at physical devices, not online card fraud.

The average duration of a compromise continued to fall — on average, an ATM or POS device would be compromised for 11 days, compared to 14 days in 2015. The 2016 average duration is less than a third of the average duration in 2014, 36 days. The average number of cards affected by a single compromise was cut in half.

FICO offers these tips for consumers:

1. If an ATM looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly, consider going somewhere else for your cash.

2. Never approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby. Never engage in conversations with others around an ATM. Remain in your automobile until other ATM users have left the ATM.

3. If your plastic card is captured inside of an ATM, call your card issuer immediately to report it. Sometimes you may think that your card was captured by the ATM when in reality it was later retrieved by a criminal who staged its capture. Either way, you will need to arrange for a replacement card as soon as possible.

4. Ask your card issuer for a new card number if you suspect that your payment card may have been compromised at a merchant, restaurant or ATM. It’s important to change both your card number and your PIN whenever you experience a potential theft of your personal information.

5. Check your card transactions frequently, using online banking and your monthly statement.

6. Ask your card provider if they offer account alert technology that will deliver SMS text communications or emails to you in the event that fraudulent activity is suspected on your payment card.

7. Update your address and cell phone information for every card you have, so that you can be reached if there is ever a critical situation that requires your immediate attention.

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