Technology security expert Brian Krebs asks if you’d have spotted this skimming fraud device when you went to use your ATM? ATM skimmers are card-reading devices that cover the real card slot, and are usually installed in conjunction with a camera to record the PIN number. Skimmers can be affixed at bank ATMs, freestanding ATMs, ATM-enabled gas station pumps, and anyplace else that an ATM might be found.
ATM skimming devices are getting more sophisticated – they’ve even been found in high-traffic bank lobbies. But experts say that by being alert and cautious, you can minimize your risk of being a scam victims. To help raise your awareness of what to look for, we’ve gathered some examples with pictures and visuals:
- Credit Card Skimming: How thieves can steal your card info without you knowing it
- Example from the University of Texas Police Department
- How to avoid ATM skimming
- Attack of the card skimmers
- This 6-minute video from the BBC’s The Real Hustle demonstrates gives a fascinating overview of how ATM skimmers work:
Tips to avoid ATM skimmers
We’ve gleaned these “best practice” tips from some of the articles, linked above:
- Use well lit, well-trafficked ATMS with security cameras; go inside banks; be particularly careful at freestanding ATMs
- When using an ATM, check for anything unusual and be alert for any devices that may be affixed. Look for anything that protrudes from or seems affixed to the machine, any color differences, any unusual stickers. Look for nearby mirrors, pamphlet holders, speakers, or devices that could house a camera.
- Always cover the keypad with your hand to shield from any cameras that may be trying to record your PIN
- Don’t let anyone “help you” at an ATM
- Check your bank account regularly to ensure funds have not been taken
- If you spot anything suspicious at an ATM, alert the bank or the police right away.