Timberland Regional Bank is warning its customers of possible “skimming.” An email was sent to patrons warning that  periodically, organized groups will pass through a specific geographic area with the intent of committing financial fraud. Such a group recently passed through the Northwest with a plan to steal money from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The fraudsters place skimmer devices and/or tiny cameras that are made to look like original parts on ATMs.

Once the skimmer is installed, an ATM user can have their card information and personal identification number (PIN) read giving fraudsters access to the card. The fraudsters then use the skimmed card number and PIN to access the customer’s funds. When the cardholder reviews his or her account and detects unauthorized withdrawals, it is critical to contact the financial institution immediately. Customers taking the proper steps will not be liable for unauthorized withdrawals from their account and will receive full reimbursements for the fraud.

The ATMs of several Northwest banks have been targeted making it very important for debit card users to review their accounts carefully for unauthorized activity and report such activity to their bank.

Timberland Bank is working with the FBI, Secret Service and local law enforcement to provide information and assist them in a full investigation into the ATM card skimming incidents that have occurred in our market areas. Timberland customers who used the bank’s ATM in Hoquiam, South Aberdeen, Lacey, Toledo and Gig Harbor last weekend have already been contacted. Their cards were cancelled and replacement cards are now being issued.

It is important to know that skimming is not a breach of the bank’s data systems. ATM skimming is an issue for the entire financial services industry and is not unique to northwest banks. Skimming can also be associated with self-service gas pumps and anywhere card readers are easily accessible.

Below are important steps every cardholder must take to protect yourself from card fraud.
1.Be vigilant, protect your card at all times. Your PIN number is private and should never be given to anyone.
2.Inspect ATM devices or gas station card readers before inserting your card. Look for anything that appears suspicious such as pieces that are loose, added on, or out of place.
3.Cover the keypad as you enter your PIN number in the device. Small cameras can be positioned to pick up this information.
4.Review all bank transactions and statements regularly. Online Banking and Mobile Banking are easy ways to review your account information anytime.
5.Notify the bank of any suspicious transactions immediately.
6.Be aware of your surroundings. Observe other people in the vicinity of the ATM at the time of your transaction.
7.If anything about the ATM looks suspicious, leave and use a different ATM.

If you have questions about this incident or need assistance, please call your local branch or contact us at 1-800-562-8761.

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