Photo of pad lock and keys on top of credit cards to illustrate the message of keeping your credit cards safe

What is PIN pad tampering?  

It involves swapping legitimate PIN (personal identification number) pads or card readers with bogus readers. Information is collected and stored on the bogus reader and transmitted to criminals.

Prevention tips for merchants:

  • Know where all your PIN pads are at all times.
  • Keep terminals out of sight when not in use and lock them up at closing.
  • Check all point-of-sale terminals and PIN pads regularly for signs of tampering.
  • Check identification of terminal service personnel.
  • Beware of scammers pretending to be customers trying to distract employees when using the PIN pad.
  • Know your employees. Hire people you can trust to handle payments.

How to identify a compromised PIN pad:

  • Tampered security seals.
  • Someone has moved the PIN pad without your employee’s knowledge.
  • Cracked plastic casing on the PIN pad.
  • Screws are missing from the machine.
  • If altered PIN pad was discovered:
  • It's a crime scene; don't allow anyone to disturb or touch it. Call the police.
  • Remove the PIN pad to a secure area.
  • Do not open up the PIN pad because valuable forensic evidence could potentially be inside.

What is ATM skimming?

ATM (automated teller machine) skimming is a two-part process designed to illegally obtain your credit or debit card number and your PIN.

Firstly, it involves the installation of a skimming device to an ATM. A skimming device works by reading the debit or credit card number during an ATM transaction. These skimming devices are typically installed into or over the card slot.

Secondly, a small wireless camera is installed near the PIN pad of the ATM, such as in a pamphlet holder. The camera inside captures your PIN when you enter it to the ATM.

ATM skimming prevention tips:

  • Always use a familiar ATM.
  • Look for ATMs with security cameras and in a well-lit area because criminals are less likely to tamper with them.
  • Be suspicious if your card is "eaten" by an ATM and someone approaches you to say the same thing happened to them, and then advises you to enter your PIN again. Don't re-enter your PIN and contact your bank immediately.
  • Limit your after-hours ATM use.
  • Watch for "shoulder surfers" when you enter your PIN. "Shoulder surfers" are individuals who look over your shoulder when you use the ATM.
  • Review your monthly account statements, or even better, review your transactions online regularly. Report any suspicious transactions to your bank immediately.
  • Never disclose your PIN to anyone, not even to someone who claims to be working at where you bank.
  • If you see something, say something, call the police if you observe any suspicious activity at or near an ATM.

For more information on fraud prevention, go to External link, opens in a new

For more information on how to report fraud, go to External link, opens in a new windowCanadian Anti-Fraud Centre.