How To Avoid ATM Skimming Scams in 2023?

People with Credit/Debit cards are vulnerable to ATM Skimming scams. ATM skimming scammers acquire and use the information obtained to create a duplicate and pay in online stores or completely empty their victim’s bank account.

Card security requires to be addressed by both banks and card holders.

What Is ATM Skimming Scam?

The ATM skimming scam is a technique used by identity thieves to obtain payment and personal information from a card holder.

Scammers can obtain card information through a variety of methods. The most advanced method uses a small device known as a skimmer. There are various names for this specific device globally. Some of them are:

  1. ATM Card Skimmer
  2. Card Skimmer
  3. Card Readers
  4. Credit Card Skimming Device
  5. Wireless card skimmers

ATM Skimmer reads the data stored in a card’s magnetic strip or microchip. Scammers fix skimmers at ATM machines replicating the card reader slot.

How the ATM Skimming Scams Works?

ATM skimming scams can happen whenever a cardholder uses an electronic payment card at a physical location. Scammers can gather information in a variety of ways. Their technology is becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect.

Identity thieves can use ATM skimming scam techniques to obtain information from a cardholder and use it to make fraudulent transactions. Some scammers will simply photocopy or take pictures of information that can be used unlawfully.

Other more advanced technologies include card skimming devices or skimmers designed for use in a variety of situations are also available. At a physical location, scammers can use a small skimmer to swipe a card and gather information from its magnetic strip

Some skimmers may also have a touchpad where the thief can enter a security code. skimmers with cameras and overlay touchpads can be installed on ATMs to capture individual personal identification numbers(PINs).

What is an ATM Skimmer? 

ATM Skimmer is a device scammers attach to ATMs in order to steal users’ card information. Typically, a magnetic stripe reader is affixed to the top of or placed inside the standard card reader. It is frequently used in conjunction with a tool that reads your card’s PIN.

It could be a covert camera placed close to an ATM or a fake keypad placed on top of the real one. These devices are self-built by scammers or are bought online.

There are many different types of skimmers. Some look obvious and are simple to remove, while others are more elusive. Some skimmers store the information on the device itself and can be extracted easily by scammers.

What do Card Skimmers Look Like?

Scammers may attempt to steal the data from the owner’s card by using special copying devices at card points of use (ATMs, payment terminals, etc.).

The scammers then create a card with the owner’s information and withdraw money. There are several ATM skimming scam techniques with various skimmers put to use. Below are a few types of skimmers and techniques used by scammers.

1. ATM Overlay

Overlays are devices that are placed over the keypad and use the PIN code entered by the Credit/Debit card owner to recognise it. Banks install surveillance cameras to prevent such crimes.

Scammers place a fake keypad on top of an ATM’s original keypad. The counterfeit keyboard remembers the keys that are being typed and sends them to the real keys. The scammers then take the overlay, decode the recording and extract the PIN number of the cardholder.

They can make a copy of the card using the stolen data. Overlay on the ATMs are almost undetectable.

2. Black Box Hack

This ATM skimming scam is conducted out by using special devices known as black boxes. They are single-board microcomputers that have been specially programmed.

Once inside the ATM, the criminal opens the casing and connects a device that forces the ATM to dispense all of the cash. Black boxes are frequently controlled by a normal smartphone.

3. Bluetooth Skimmer

These nearly invisible devices receive Credit/Debit card information and send it via Bluetooth technology to a nearby device. Bluetooth skimmers can be installed right in front of employees at a store or gas station.

The perpetrator can then pretend to be a gas station attendant while the other distracts the cashier. As a result, the skimmer will silently and inconspicuously collect its owner’s PIN code and card data. The Bluetooth skimmer is also commonly known as a wireless card skimmer.

4. Card Skimmer  

A credit card skimmer is a device that reads the magnetic tape on a credit card to steal information.  Such skimmers are later used to create a clone of the card for fraud or theft.

These skimmers are attached to ATM card readers and collect data from each card that is inserted. Users should carefully inspect the card slot for hinged panels and other unusual components to prevent such activities.

5. Hidden Camera

Hidden cameras are attached to or near the ATM (in some cases, cameras are mounted in stands for the bank’s promotional brochures). 

Miniature cameras are directed at the ATM keyboard. Designed to record cardholders’ PIN codes. A small depression resembling a black dot indicates the presence of the camera. Check carefully and inspect it for even the smallest holes and recesses.

We advise our readers to cover the keypad with their free hand when entering the PIN code. Hiding the keypad is the most common and oldest method to prevent card skimming scanning.

6. Malware

Malware attacks help scammers to force ATMs to dispense cash without affecting any bank accounts. Ploutus, Cutlet Maker, and other programmes are a few examples of malware.

The malware is delivered via a USB flash drive containing the virus. This attack is similar to the black box attack but the scammers do not need to install any equipment.

In Case of an ATM Skimming Scam

Anyone who uses a credit or debit card is vulnerable to ATM skimming scams. Stolen card information can be used by scammers in a variety of ways. For example, they may sell stolen data or create fake credit cards to make fake online purchases.

Payments made with a credit card are easier to dispute than payments made with a debit card. Most credit cards have a zero-liability policy. This means that when fraudulent activity happens, the cardholder is not responsible for repaying the funds to the issuer.

We request our readers to keep a close eye on their credit card activity and statements. Suspicious activity should be reported to the bank and authorities as soon as possible.

Some cards include a special alert that alerts the cardholder to potential fraudulent charges. The user is then issued a new Debit/Credit card with a number.

Tips to Recognize ATM Skimmers

There are various methods for detecting ATM skimmers:

A Credit/Debit card reader is difficult for a non-professional to notice. Many bank customers will not be suspicious of the skimmer. This device is attached to the ATM’s body, near the card acceptor.

An ATM skimming scam device normally consists of three parts

  1. The reading magnetic head is in charge of reading data from the magnetic strip.
  2. A miniature scam device that converts read information into a digital code.
  3. Storage device – A device used to write digital code to a data carrier.

Skimmers can operate on the basis of collecting information about users or transmitting card data to scammers via a radio channel to the receiving device.

1. Check The Card Reader 

Examine the card reader on the machine carefully. It should be securely fastened to the ATM.

If tape or plastic fragments protrude from beneath the card reader, proceed with caution. There should also be no glue traces around the card reader.

2.Hidden Cameras

The bank’s surveillance cameras are clearly visible. Look around the machine for a small hidden camera that scammers install. Scammers attach such devices to ATMs in order to obtain the cardholder’s PIN code.

Cameras are generally located above the screen or at the counters. Once the user’s PIN is captured by the camera, they might become a victim of an ATM skimming scam.

3. Unusual Plastic Pieces on the ATM

There shouldn’t be any suspicious plastic parts on the machine’s surface. These elements are rectangular in shape, and held together with tape.

A device for reading the card information could be hidden inside the rectangular plastic. If you notice a suspicious part, try to move it slightly. If it is not securely fastened, it could be a skimming device.

4. Unusual Thickness on the Keypad

You should inspect the keypad before using the ATM. Large buttons or unusually thick keys may raise suspicion.

The keypad may be suspiciously new or protrude slightly above its casing. Legitimate keypads are designed to fit as tightly as possible. Scammers place a fake keypad over the real one in case of ATM Skimming scams.

5. ATM’s Graphics Are Obstructed

The presence of hidden graphic elements may indicate the presence of counterfeit ATM components. A typical machine should be free of hidden lines and arrows.

There could be a skimmer beneath the hidden card readers, the graphic elements and the card reader should be separated.

6. Card Scanner Moves or Budges

Modern ATMs are built to be durable and dependable. A movable card reader can indicate the presence of a skimmer. The skimmer can be attached with tape or glue.

7. Keypad Feels Sticky or Spongy

There should be no unnecessary keys on the ATM keyboard. Examine the keypad to see if it is sticky, deformed, or stiff. These characteristics could point to the presence of an overlay ATM skimmer. If a card is used at any such ATM Machine, there are very high chances of data theft.

How To Avoid ATM Skimmers?

Scammers are constantly inventing new ways to commit fraud. There are several precautions that users can take to avoid becoming a victim of an ATM skimming scam and avoid ATM Skimmers. Here are a few helpful hints to avoid this scam.

1. Use ATMS Located Inside a Bank

ATMs located inside branches are better protected and inspected by bank employees. There are numerous machines in the branches. This makes it difficult for scammers to install a skimmer on each one.

2. Use Mobile Wallets

These virtual wallets save payment card information on your mobile device. Mobile wallets empower secure Internet payments without the risk of scammers stealing card data.

3. Use ATMs in Well-lit Areas

It is best not to use the machine if it is in a dimly lit room. Use well-lit ATMs in congested areas to withdraw cash.

4. Report Any Issues

Inform the administration of the location where the ATM is installed if anything appears suspicious. Vigilance can frequently aid in the prevention of a crime.

5. Use Jitter Fitted ATMs

A jitter is an overlay that causes a card reader to vibrate when you insert it. Because the vibration prevents scammers from copying the magnetic strip on the card, skimmers are not installed on such devices.

6. Install Skimmer Detection Apps

A special application will assist in determining whether or not there is a nearby Credit/Debit card skimmer. This application examines Bluetooth signals for suspicious connections.

Anti-ATM Skimming Systems

Anti-ATM skimming systems help in the detection of ATM attacks at all stages. Any attempt to install card skimming equipment or shut down the video surveillance camera will result in a protection system being activated.

If an ATM skimming scam is detected, security specialists will be notified in real-time. With incident details, a photo of the suspect, and a video of the scene.

End Note

Anyone who has a bank card with a magnetic stripe is vulnerable to ATM Skimming scams and skimmer devices. Scammers use the information obtained to create a duplicate and pay at online stores or completely empty the bank account.

Portable magnetic stripe readers can be installed in hotels, cafes, restaurants, and stores by scammers. To summarise, card skimming devices allow reading the information from cards during a transaction.

Scammers copy the magnetic stripe on the card and the PINs to steal card data. ATM owners must be vigilant in order to protect their customers from fraud. To prevent ATM skimming scams, banks must use up-to-date software.

First-hand benefits of such solutions include easy fleet management, simplification of security service work, access to photos and video from the scene, and the ability to view video and photos in case of an ATM skimming scam.