Skip to comments.ATM ‘Skimmers’ Can Be Virtually Impossible To Spot, Says Expert
Posted on 01/23/2013 3:28:10 PM PST by nickcarraway
TD Bank says it is getting in touch with customers who may have fallen victim to a card skimmer installed on one of their ATMs on Stokes Road in Medford, Burlington County (see related story).
But it can happen at any ATM, from any bank. So how can you keep your cash from ending up in some criminals hands?
One expert notes that with plastic that matches the banks color scheme and a light-up slot that fits over the actual debit card reader, the fakes can fool you and cost you.
Some of these things have gotten pretty sophisticated, says techsecurity expert Brian Krebs, editor of KrebsOnSecurity.com. The ones that fit into the throat of machines would be very difficult to detect.
Listen to this story:
play KYW tech editor Ian Bush with KrebsOnSecurity.com editor Brian KrebsIan Bush 00:00 Download Luckily for consumers, Krebs says, he hasnt yet witnessed the sale of that kind of skimming technology mounted inside the existing ATM card slot on underground message boards. The popular option for thieves is the all-in-one skimmer.
Its essentially a plastic device that fits over the card acceptance slot, Krebs says, and its made to record the data thats stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.
While youll be able to jiggle this reader on some shoddy installations, many times itll look and feel legit. But even crude skimmers get the job done.
And often, a tiny camera is waiting to catch you enter your PIN.
Some of the most sophisticated ATM skimmers have a PIN pad overlay, Krebs explains. Theyre devices that look just like the PIN pad, that sit on top of the buttons and record you entering in the number. But those are far less common than a hidden camera [below]. Bad guys can steal your card number, but its a lot less worthwhile to them if they dont have your PIN.
(Would you have spotted it? Photo courtesy krebsonsecurity.com) -
Covering the PIN pad with your hand while you enter your access code can keep you from becoming a victim in that way.
Its really important for people to pay attention to their statements and report any unauthorized activity, Krebs adds. And your physical safety is always the most important thing. Its a good idea to use ATMs that are in well-lit places, not tucked away in a corner somewhere. I always recommend that if people have the option, go to a real bank ATM instead of one thats stuck in a convenience store or managed by a third party, because theyre monitored less closely.
But the skimmer in Medford, NJ was installed at a TD Bank branch.
This is a crime that is often frustrating and inconvenient, Krebs says. But consumers are protected at least in the United States against this type of fraud.
Driving home the point that cover-your-PIN is key, Krebs who has researched and written a series on skimmers on his website, which includes photos of the devices in many shapes and sizes says hes even seen skimmers mounted at doors to major bank vestibule ATMs: your card is skimmed when you swipe to open the door, and a camera is inside to record your secret code.
They get your card data, they get your PIN, and they never have to touch the ATM, he says. Another thing I tell people is, if you see two ATMs and one is out of order, you might want to pay special attention to the one thats not out of order. Ive seen this technique used where they compromise one ATM in a string, and theyll put out-of-order signs on the ones that arent compromised.
In a statement, TD Bank says its contacting customers who may have been affected by the breach. The company encourages ATM users to cover they keypad when entering their PIN and to carefully review bank statements and credit reports for unauthorized activity.
I never have used an atm. I go to the bank. I deal with a human. I dont use debt cards to help limit my possible losses.
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