Risk & Fraud

Crisis Preparedness: Tips from the New ATM Skimming Communications Playbook

By: Tom Pierce, Chief Marketing Officer, PSCU

While ATM and gas pump transactions have come a long way in terms of safety and security, fraud still happens. Does your credit union have an action plan for assisting members in the event of ATM skimming? PSCU’s new ATM Skimming Communications Playbook, now available for download, provides easy-to-follow guidelines for responding to an ATM skimming crisis quickly and appropriately.

ATM skimming is a type of fraud that occurs when a terminal has been compromised by a skimming device (or “skimmer”), which contains a card reader that can be disguised to look like part of the card terminal. Fraudsters place these skimmers on or in a card reader, collecting card numbers and PIN codes, which can be replicated into counterfeit cards.

Skimming fraud is on the rise, and it’s important that your credit union is well equipped and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. The ATM Skimming Communications Playbook compiles practical information, strategies and tools for meeting crisis communications needs related to these incidents, from providing support to your members, to establishing transparency and protecting your brand, to managing news coverage and social media activity.

Below are three at-a-glance best practices from the guide to help your credit union prepare for when an ATM skimming event emerges:

  1. Identify your credit union’s crisis communications team – including spokesperson(s) and social media manager(s) – and establish roles and responsibilities to be best prepared ahead of an ATM skimming event.
  2. Set up monitoring on social media and other media platforms in order to stay abreast of conversations and coverage.
  3. Develop messaging for your members and a media statement to be used for media inquiries. When developing statements and messaging, consider the following to establish the facts:
    • During what time frame did the skimming incident(s) occur?
    • Where did the incident(s) occur?
    • Who has been affected by the incident(s)?
    • What steps are being taken to resolve the incident(s)?
    • How long until operations return to normal?
    • Have there been any member inquiries?
    • Have there been any media inquiries? If so, from who?

Download the complete ATM Skimming Communications Playbook today, and uncover everything you need to know about providing effective, critical communications to utilize with your members, your team and the community during ATM skimming emergencies.


In his role as SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Pierce is responsible for leading and executing PSCU’s marketing and communications strategy. Pierce has successfully led marketing teams for more than 30 years, with the latter half of his career spent in the payments industry. Prior to joining PSCU, Pierce served as Chief Marketing Officer for Cardtronics, a global ATM organization serving the retail and financial services industries, where he directed a global marketing team in the development and execution of strategic marketing and communications initiatives.