Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ATM Skimmers and How to Protect Yourself

Photo by Krebs On Security

An ATM skimmer is a device that a thief attaches to an actual legitimate ATM machines to get debit and credit card information of anyone who uses that machines in order to clone them on to blank cards and use them.  An article on ABC News quoted Tracy Kitten, Editor for ATMMarketplace.com"ATM skimming has been and will continue to be the number one type of ATM-related fraud," and the Secret Service estimates that $350,000 is lost everyday using skimmers.

Prior to this, I recall seeing on a "60 Minutes" type show (although I don't think it was "60 Minutes") where a gas station and a laptop was connected to the swipe device and captured the swipe card and an overhead camera the thief, and employee, installed camera to record the pin number a person would enter then clone the card.

There is a 3 part article at Kreb on Security that shows some of the different devices that are being used.

Fun With ATM Skimmers

Would You Have Spotted the Fake?
Pictures of ATM skimmers

How to Prevent Becoming A Victim of An ATM Skimmer:

While the law is your side should you become the victim of a skimmer, it is still a big hassle to fill out a Fraud Affidavit and wait for the money to be credited back to your account.  

The article at ABC.com has six ways to protect yourself, but they basically boil down two:

1.  Pay Attention and check it out - take a good look at the machine.  Don't just pop your card in and start entering you card number - take a good look at it to see if something appears to be attached that should be, if so, yank on it see if it comes off.   Touch the keypad and hit a few keys - do you feel resistance?    Does it have sticky residue or are there brochures nearby that could be blocking a hidden camera?.   If so alert the Bank and/or Law Enforcement and don't use it!

2.  Use your hand to cover the pin number you are entering.    In doing so it could prevent a hidden camera or even someone in line behind you.

1 comment:

Darling Petunia said...

Kathryn, remember that book giveaway you entered at Darling Petunia? Did you know you won? Maybe you did, and maybe you sent me your address already, but I might have missed it in my email! If you'd still like the sock and glove softy book, email me your addy at darlingpetunia (at) aol (dot) com. Thanks!