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ATM Fraud: How to Protect Yourself

Pamela Heald headshot
Posted in President's Corner

January 2020

Protecting yourself from ATM fraud means more than just being cautious with covering the keypad as you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Just as technology continues to evolve, financial scammers update their methods accordingly. The sophistication of the fraudsters’ technology is such that it can be incredibly difficult to detect with the naked eye. Recently, Reliant identified that skimming devices had been placed on some of our drive-up ATMs over two weekends in December. Unfortunately, if this can happen to Reliant—where we carefully and regularly inspect our ATMs and have systems in place that can detect tampering—it can happen anywhere.

When Reliant members fall victim to ATM fraud, we take it very seriously and personally. Please know that we reimburse members for all fraudulent, unauthorized transactions. That being said, we know that it is a huge inconvenience to deal with credit or debit card fraud. We want to save you time and help you avoid that inconvenience whenever possible.

With the beginning of a new year and tax season upon us, it felt like a good time to give the following tips and pointers to keep your account secure or minimize the inconvenience if someone steals your information.

Be diligent about checking your accounts.
Take advantage of free convenience services like Reliant’s mobile app and online banking to keep an eye on your account routinely.

Sign up for free account and credit card alerts.
You can have alerts sent to you via text or email, alerting you when certain transactions have taken place.

Report any fraudulent transactions immediately.
Our fraud prevention tools use information from a variety of sources—including reports from members—to connect the dots and notice patterns of fraud. When you detect fraud and tell us about it, it can prevent further inconvenience to you and others.

Consider adopting contactless payment options.
When you use a mobile payment app (e.g. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay) to pay at a merchant, the app generates a unique token for the purchase, and the merchant doesn’t get access to your card details. In this way, it is one of the most secure ways you can pay. I personally have adopted Apple Pay as my preferred method of payment because of its security—and I share my excitement about it often. If using a mobile wallet is something that confuses or concerns you, I invite you to speak with a Reliant member service representative for help.

Make sure that we have the best contact information (preferably a mobile phone number) for you.
When we suspect or detect that fraud has taken place, we take steps to mitigate the impact on you.

In order to do that, we need to be able to reach you as soon as possible. A mobile phone number is often the best number to have on file with Reliant (and any financial institution where you have accounts) to ensure we can reach you quickly, wherever you are. If you haven’t done so recently, please update your phone number under “My Settings” when you’re logged into your account in online banking. You can also visit any Reliant branch to verify we have your mobile phone number on file.

Cover the keypad when you’re entering your PIN
Skimming devices are often used in conjunction with pinhole cameras, which are usually placed so that they can capture your hand striking the keys as you enter your PIN. While covering the keypad doesn’t prevent the skimmer from getting your card information, the fraudster won’t get your PIN if the camera can’t see it, and you’ll be doing your part to minimize the information these criminals can access.


Protecting you and your finances is important to us. Because of that, you’ve likely seen an article from me about this before, and you will continue to hear us discuss and share pointers on the topic. We can’t help but continue to remind you—it’s that important.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-724-9282.

For more information to assist you in protecting yourself from fraud and other criminal activities, please visit our Fraud/ID Theft page.

As always, we appreciate your membership!

Pamela Heald
President & CEO

Contact Pamela
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