After a dramatic rise in the illegal use of skimmers — devices that criminals install in ATMs that can read bank account details and passwords — state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) filed a new bill last week that would thwart the scheme by raising consumer awareness.
The bill would amend the banking law, requiring a notice be posted on all automated teller machines warning customers of skimming and provide information on how to file a claim with the attorney general when a customer believes they have been the victim of skimming.
“This is a simple step we can take to prevent New Yorkers from getting scammed when they use their ATM cards at banks, local shops or other businesses,” Peralta said. “We are talking about one of the top 10 scams occurring in New York. My proposal would require banks and ATM operators to install a sign warning customers to check for illegal ATM skimmers and report them to the Attorney General’s office. It’s a basic tool to combat fraud and identity theft and protect New Yorkers.”
Once criminals obtain consumers’ information from the magnetic strip on the back of their bank cards, they are able to duplicate their victim’s bank card, access their account, and empty it of its assets.
FICO Card Alert Service reports ATM compromises in the U. rose an eye-popping 546 percent from 2014 to 2015. FICO detected a 70 percent increase in compromised debit cards at U.S. ATMs and merchant card readers in 2016.
FICO, a Silicon Valley-based research company, monitors hundreds of thousand of ATM machines around the country.
“As the last few years have proven, skimming technology and know-how have improved and are more accessible to the general population, so we will continue to see increases in compromises and the speed at which they occur,” FICO Vice President TJ Horan said. “It’s important for consumers to be on alert.”
FICO offered tips for consumers such as never use an ATM that looks odd, or if anyone is lingering nearby. If your ATM card is not returned by the machine, alert your card issuer immediately, as it may be retrieved later by the criminal that staged its capture.
Also, ask your card issuer for a new card number and PIN if you suspect that your card information may have been compromised.
According to the legislation, banks or automated teller machine operators that fail to comply would face fines of up to $250.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@
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