Local credit union uses technology to protect customers from 'skimming'

Hidden sensors, machine's design best way to keep information safe

SAN ANTONIO - ATM thieves are constantly finding new ways to get their hands on your bank account and pin numbers.

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Skimmers -- devices that can capture a customer's card information when it's placed over an ATM's card reader -- are fast becoming a growing problem.

But local banks and credit unions like the Generations Federal Credit Union are fighting back. 

"Thieves are constantly getting smarter and so we are working to stay one step ahead of them," said the credit union's spokeswoman, Ashley Harris. "What I like about our ATMs is they actually have a hidden sensor inside the card reader. When any type of device is placed over it, around it, or inside it inside it, it sends us a signal. We get notified, the ATM security company gets notified. We have the ability to instantly shutdown the ATM."

Another way banks are protecting customers is through the physical design of the machine.

Card readers are placed at the edge of an ATM to make skimming or tampering nearly impossible.

Customers can also take matters into their own hands and Harris said it starts before they even get to the ATM.

"Have your card ready, beware of your surroundings," she said. "If you walk up to an ATM and it looks like it's been scratched or tampered with, it's probably just best to keep walking."


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