ATM skimmers allow criminals to steal your information from the ATM. Skimmers can copy your debit card and can also capture your PIN number. Here are some possible scams as well as some tips on how to spot them to save yourself from being scammed.
Some scammers use a fake card reader over the actual ATM card slot. When you swipe your card, you may not notice anything different, but this fake card reader just copied all of your information. Next time before you swipe, inspect the card reader and make sure it isn't fake.
If there is a fake card reader, another step to the scam is to place a small camera somewhere so they can steal your PIN. The camera is pointed to record you putting in your PIN number. This way the criminals will have your scanned information as well as your PIN.
So, next time you withdraw money, check for cameras. Look above the screen or keypad. Check in a brochure holder or somewhere else near the keypad. When in doubt, use your hand to block your PIN when you type it in.
If the attackers use this technology, then they can make a fake ATM card with your magnetic strip data. They can use your card at any ATM because they also have your PIN and can drain money from your account with ease. When in doubt, jiggle the card slot and see if it feels fake.
Another type of skimmer is internal. It is much smaller and can inserted into the card slot instead of over it. And instead of a camera pointed to look at the keypad, criminals can put a fake keyboard over the real keypad. When you press the buttons, the fake keypad can log your PIN.
If you see that a machine is off alignment, this may be a sign that the machine has been tampered with. ATM skimmers capture data but then the scammers need to come back and retrieve the skimmer to get all of your information. There are other ways to steal information, however. There are more and more ATM skimmers that can transfer this data wirelessly over Bluetooth.
If you see any attachments that look out of place, think before you use the machine. This could be a MicroSD card that is set to steal your information. Some skimmers don't even have to touch your card to steal your information.
Thieves can also steal your ATM card by using plastic sleeves known as “Lebanese loops.” This plastic envelope fits into the hole in the machine perfectly. When you put your card in, the machine knows it is there but cannot read it. When the person goes to get help, then the thieves can remove your card with tweezers and run off.
Like the "Lebanese loops", thieves can rig the machine to eat your card and get it stuck making you put in your PIN over and over again. If they stand close enough, they can watch you put in your pin and then offer to watch the machine as you go for help. When you leave, the have ample time to steal your card and flee the scene.
There are many ways that criminals can steal your info. It's up to you to protect yourself and know what to look out for. When in doubt, go into the bank and use the ATM inside and stay away from stand alone ATMs.
Make sure to always keep an eye on your bank accounts. If you see anything suspicious, notify the bank as soon as possible. Always check your statements online, so if there is any fraudulent activity you can catch it as soon as possible.