The banking services offered by ATMs have increased dramatically in recent years. Customers can perform many operations on these machines. In particular, withdrawing or depositing cash, recharging a smartphone, buying tickets for concerts and shows, etc. Accessible on every street corner, flexible and easy to use, it is very popular today. Unfortunately, it is not infallible or 100% safe. They remain a favorite target for criminals, and customers sometimes pay the price.
Have you ever heard of the “computer skimming” phenomenon? It is a very well known form of crime that involves the installation of some malicious device in the ATM. Via a card reader, for example, data can be copied from the magnetic strips of a credit or debit card at the time of use. They are then used to register new bank cards, through which cash withdrawals are made.
Thus “skimming” is one of the most common fraud practices among criminals. This ATM scam involves bank card hacking and cloning. In concrete terms, this fraudulent technique boils down to copying the magnetic stripe content of a third party card and creating a duplicate to steal funds. This fake card is no different from the original, and therefore its use is unlimited, whether at counters, in any business or even on the Internet. It is often used by thieves abroad and victims have the unpleasant surprise of seeing suspicious transactions in their bank accounts.
How to protect from scraping?
Usually, scrapers use a monitoring device to try to copy your secret code. In principle, this process can be performed in two ways:
- At ATMs: by attaching a copier to the card slot to copy information from the magnetic stripe. Criminals can use a fake keypad or a small video camera to record the PIN as it is entered.
- At the merchant’s point of sale: When a payment is made, the card is swiped through another device to remotely transcribe the information from the magnetic stripe.
So be vigilant and stay on your guard as soon as you make a withdrawal with your card. Before entering the PIN, always slide your finger to the bottom edge and check if you feel a slight protrusion or if the keyboard can come off easily. If in doubt, it is best to use another ATM and inform the appropriate authorities of the risks.
How to identify unsecured ATMs?
Here are the important points to remember:
- Every part of the ATM, including the card reader and keyboard, must be securely attached with no moving or loose parts. Be aware that hubs are built with very few external components, so if you notice any weird features like a plastic strip on top, it could be hiding a potential camera.
- Always check whether the keyboard is firmly fixed and whether there is a small hole above it (maybe a webcam).
- Keyboard overlays look a lot like regular ATM keyboards, but they may protrude slightly from the surface or be made of a different material than the rest of the machine. Don’t be fooled, don’t be fooled!
- Finally, for added security, check your bank statement monthly (or even more often). If some transactions seem suspicious to you, contact your bank as soon as possible.