Warning: ATM fraud is on the rise

Here's how to protect yourself from ATM skimming.

ATM skimming is on the rise, jumping 546 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to a recent report from the analytics software company FICO. Just how much money gets stolen annually via this route is hard to pinpoint, but some industry estimates suggest that as much as $2 billion a year may be lost to ATM skimming.

For those who aren’t aware, ATM skimming is the process of stealing debit card information – even PIN numbers – via electronic reading devices covertly affixed to ATMs.

But besides swearing off ATMs forever, what can you do to protect yourself from unscrupulous thieves?

Never use a public ATM. That is, avoid going to an ATM that isn’t inside a bank. You know, those ATMs in convenience stores, gas stations, bars, malls and especially city streets, where often nobody’s around and thieves can easily go to work.

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