It made news a couple weeks ago when an ATM skimmer epidemic hit Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, I became part of that story. I had my debit card number stolen and saw two unauthorized charges on my account. One small charge for 72 cents and another larger one for over $100. That's exactly how scams like this work. The good news was, I caught it right away, called my bank and they credited back the amount but also had to cancel my card. Even after getting it quickly resolved, I'm still a bit scared. I haven't called police but I considered it.

I chalked it up to cruel scammers preying on everyone's vulnerability during the flood as I had heard of this happening to other folks around that time. But two legitimate transactions I made right before the breach happened became red flags. One was an online purchase. There is always an inherent risk in online shopping but I've always done it confidently. Maybe less so now. The other transaction being at a place I always shop, where they had a "new" card reader system. I would suggest watching for that, even at places you do frequent business with.

I've always found it hard to figure out how to notice unusual parts or pieces on an ATM machine, as law enforcement and financial institutions suggest doing, but with the recent stories and tips on that, I've become more informed. In addition, try to conceal keypads on ATMs when you type in your numbers. My point, however, is that it doesn't just happen at physical ATM machines. I like to think of myself as very diligent about these things and you should be too. Watch everything relating to your bank account.