It was recently reported that credit card skimmers were being found at Walmart stores. Now we have video of skimmers that have been designed to fit invisibly inside an ATM card slot. Unlike old skimmers that were comparatively bulky, these new designs are incredibly thin and slide in over the magnetic strip reader.
These new skimmers are impossible to detect externally since they hook into the card acceptance slot. In order to install and retrieve the devices, you need two separate tools, which are supplied by the criminals who sell the devices and can be seen in the video below.
Once thieves have the data off the stolen card, they can make counterfeits, but in order to take out cash, they need to also have access to the victim’s PIN. In order to achieve this, either a false keypad or hidden camera needs to be installed. Cameras are more commonly used due to their being the cheaper option and many sellers of card skimmers also sell hidden camera set-ups that be installed as fake overhead panels on an ATM.
While it might be easy to view every ATM as a potential threat, there are a couple easy steps that you can take to either mitigate or avoid malicious card skimmers altogether. Don’t use sketchy ATMs. Try and use ones that are installed at a bank and definitely don’t used stand-alone cash machines that are poorly lit. Avoid using ATMs on a weekend as thieves tend to install them when they know the bank will be closed for an extended time. Finally, use your hand to cover the keypad when you put in your PIN. I know it sounds overly simple, but most skimmers use a hidden camera to steal the victim’s PIN. If you take that away, then you’ve made it not worth a criminal’s effort to counterfeit your card.