The PA Department of Banking and Securities and PA State Police advise holiday shoppers – whether online or at brick-and-mortar stores – to be especially vigilant in protecting their financial information.
Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann and State Police Commissioner Colonel Tyree C. Blocker remind consumers to be watchful for fraudulent card skimming devices, which can be attached to ATM machines, gas pumps, or other payment processing machines in retail stores, and to exercise good cybersecurity practices when shopping online.
Consumers can take these seven steps to protect themselves:
• Use ATMs and gas pumps in well-lit, secure locations.
• Examine the card reader slot and surrounding areas to see if anything looks out of place, mismatched, or loose.
• Consider using a credit card not linked to your bank account to avoid compromising your PIN or cash flow, and to gain other consumer protections. Read this brief Credit or Debit guide to learn more.
• Check your bank and credit card statements frequently to watch for fraudulent activity and report any unfamiliar activity immediately.
• Look for signs of an encrypted website when providing sensitive personal information such as credit card, banking information, or SSNs online; key identifiers include a website address for the website’s login page that begins with “https” and a padlock icon in your browser status bar.
• Do not open links or attachments in unsolicited emails from any person or vendor you do not know.
• You can also give yourself a gift this holiday season — order a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com at 1.877.322.8228
Consumers are encouraged to report suspected card skimmers to police, as well as the institution or store manager.
Consumers can contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-600-0007 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products.
Consumers who believe they have been victimized by card skimmers or who have other consumer complaints can contact the Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection unit: 1-800-441-2555.