ATM skimming devices on the rise right before holiday-shopping season

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

If you ever go to the CVS at 3637 N Southport in Lakeview you may want to check your bank account. An ATM skimming devices was at that location on Monday morning according to the blog Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown.

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Like most skimming devices, this machine was outfitted with a fake swiper that steals victim’s card information and can record someone’s key strokes as they enter in their PIN.

This is another in a long line of scams found in Chicago over the last two months. Here is a list of where these skimming devices were previously found.

  • An Associated Bank in the 5200 block of North Central Avenue
  • A Walgreens in the 1500 block of West Fullerton Avenue
  • A 7-Eleven in the 10700 block of South Ewing Avenue
  • A Walgreens in the 1600 block of West Belmont Avenue
  • A Fifth Third Bank in the 600 block of West Diversey Parkway
  • A Chase Bank in the 5600 block of West Montrose Avenue
  • A Walgreens in the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue
  • A Walgreens in the 2300 block of West Irving Park Road
  • A Fifth Third Bank in the first block of West Division Street
  • A Walgreens in the 3100 block of West Irving Park Road
  • A Walgreens in the 200 block of West Madison Street
  • A Walgreens in the 100 block of North State Street
  • A Walgreens in the first block of West Monroe Street

Previously this year, ATM skimmers were found throughout Northwest Indiana as well.

Especially with the holiday shopping season coming up, it’s better to be extra careful when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Here are a few tips on how to watch out for potential skimmers and to protect your money.

  • If it doesn’t fit…: When you approach an ATM, check for some obvious signs of tampering on the machine — near the speakers, the side of the screen, the keyboard and the card reader itself.
  • Compare and contrast: It’s a good idea to quickly take a look at the ATM next to yours and compare them. If there are any obvious differences, don’t use either one; report the suspicious tampering to your bank.
  • Magic fingers: If the keyboard on an ATM doesn’t feel right — too thick, perhaps — then there may be an overlay on the keyboard to steal your PIN, so don’t use it.
  • Wiggle it…just a little bit: ATM are solidly constructed and generally don’t have any jiggling or loose parts. Pull at protruding parts like the card reader. See if the keyboard is securely attached and in just one piece.
  • Go inside: Using an indoor ATM is safer because those machines usually don’t have skimming devices since they are monitored by or in view of employees.
  • Keep an eye out: Look around for additions to the machine that could hide a camera pointed at the keypad. If there’s no overlay on the keyboard, crooks might use a camera to get your PIN. It may be installed on the ATM or even above it. Make sure to cover your PIN as you type it in.
  • Shop during the week: The chances of getting hit by a skimmer are higher on the weekend than during the week, since it’s harder for customers to report suspicious ATMs to the bank.

RELATED: ATM malware warning: New threat can empty the machine of cash

If you notice anything suspicious about an ATM, you can contact the Chicago Police Financial Crimes Unit at 312-746-9661.

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