Skimming, or illegally obtaining an ATM card number with an electronic device, is becoming more of a threat to financial institutions and their customers. The skimming devices are placed on the ATM where one would insert their card. The skimmer has the appearance of being part of the machine and can be very deceiving.
How they work:
A victim will walk up to the ATM and insert their card. The skim device will capture the card number and sometimes the PIN depending on the complexity of the device. If the skim device does not record the PIN, the suspect may place a camera on the machine so that the PIN can be obtained.
Once enough card numbers have been captured, the perpetrator will remove the skim device and create counterfeit cards.
Detection and Prevention:
Skim devices are designed to not be readily detected; however there may be red flags:
- There may be something loose or suspicious over or around the card slot.
- Thieves will often install tiny pinhole cameras to record the customer keying their PIN.
- Signs that were not posted by the bank may be posted on the machine.
- Be mindful of anyone who is at the ATM or sitting in a car near the ATM for an unusually long time period.
If you notice any of these red flags do not use the machine and contact the bank immediately.