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Protect Your Finances From ATM Skimming Fraud

By Tom Seest

Could Your Information Be At Risk From ATM Skimming?

At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.

ATM skimmer is a device criminals use to capture credit and debit card data. This could be either an actual physical device that fits over the original card reader, or it could be a wireless one that transmits the info directly to a server.
Skimming costs banks and consumers an estimated $1 billion each year. It has become easier and less expensive for criminals to commit this scam.

Could Your Information Be At Risk From ATM Skimming?

Could Your Information Be At Risk From ATM Skimming?

How Do Skimmers Steal Your Information?

Skimmers are devices that capture card data when you use your credit or debit card at an ATM or point-of-sale (POS) terminal. They may be hardware or software-based. Skimming has become a global problem, impacting consumers around the world and ranking among the biggest cybersecurity risks facing financial institutions today.
The initial step to preventing a skimming attack is being aware of what skimmers are and how they operate. Skimmers are an increasingly common way for thieves to steal credit card information, but they can easily be detected if you know what to look out for.
Skimmers come in many forms, from mini devices designed to fit in card acceptance slots to more sophisticated ones that plug directly into an ATM’s internal PIN pad. Most are camouflaged to blend in with the rest of the machine but they can be identified by looking for signs of tampering.
For instance, if the graphics on the side of an ATM don’t match or there are stickers or other parts that appear misaligned, then it could indicate that someone has broken into and installed a skimmer.
These devices are usually very thin and can be attached to the bottom of an ATM’s keypad or camera, making them easily concealable. Be especially wary in tourist areas as these devices have the potential to record your PIN while you enter it.
Another common design method for skimmer design involves using a venturi pump that introduces fine bubbles into the tank water. These bubbles then enter the skimmer body, where they collect proteins and other substances. Finally, foam collected in the cup is removed via its drain–usually located near the top of the unit).
Some skimmers feature a recirculating pump that feeds water and air into the reaction chamber to create foam or an air/water mix. This type of skimmer is more efficient than co/countercurrent designs, which inject dirty water into the chamber to be processed, as it allows for longer contact time between bubbles and water.

How Do Skimmers Steal Your Information?

How Do Skimmers Steal Your Information?

How can you protect yourself from ATM skimming?

Skimmers are small devices thieves attach to payment machines (like ATMs and gas pumps) in order to steal credit card information. This poses both a cyber and physical risk.
Skimming attacks typically involve the placement of a counterfeit credit card reader over an actual card reader in order to capture sensitive data such as your PIN number and magnetic stripe. This type of ATM security issue can occur on all types of cards, even chip-enabled ones.
Fraudsters often employ skimmer devices to obtain not only your credit or debit card data, but also personal information like names, addresses and emails.
Financial security can be compromised when criminals attempt to make fraudulent online purchases or use your card without authorization. In extreme cases, thieves may even clone your card and sell it on the black market.
Fortunately, there are several ways to detect a skimmer. First, look for any signs that the machine’s hardware is not correctly installed – particularly if you use an older ATM or one with recent repairs that haven’t been thoroughly examined by a repair person. This step is especially essential if the ATM or model hasn’t recently undergone maintenance or inspection by an outside technician.
Another way to detect a skimmer is by watching how the machine responds to your touch. If the keypad or card reader responds strangely, this could indicate that it has been compromised.
Additionally, look for any unusual attachments or moving parts on the ATM’s machine. Genuine ATMs are built with minimal external components, so any suspicious items could indicate an unsavory install.
The most prevalent type of skimmer is an internal one that’s installed into an ATM’s card reader. These are easy for fraudsters to install and virtually impossible for anyone but the criminal to detect.
However, the best way to protect yourself from skimmers is never to give out your card number or PIN to an unsecured ATM. Furthermore, always store your debit card safely in an accessible place where it can be reached easily.

How can you protect yourself from ATM skimming?

How can you protect yourself from ATM skimming?

Are You Vulnerable to ATM Skimming Attacks?

ATM skimming is an increasingly common method thieves use to obtain card data. This type of scam costs businesses and consumers alike billions of dollars each year.
Though ATM fraud is on the rise, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself. Check for broken keys, missing slots, or exposed wires before using your ATM – these could indicate that someone has installed a skimmer to steal funds from you.
Skimmers are small devices that resemble ATM card readers but are designed to steal your card information. They can either be attached directly to the reader itself or placed inside an empty slot.
These skimmers often read information from your card as you swipe it, as well as capture and store your PIN number for later retrieval by thieves. There are various kinds of skimmers available on the market and they can be hard to spot.
Some are tailored to match the aesthetic and color scheme of a machine, while others look out of place; they might protrude at an angle or obscure arrows in a panel.
Skimmers typically install themselves over the default card reader. You can identify them by comparing your ATM with one next to it.
Another way to detect a card reader skimmer is by inspecting it closely. Squeezing or tugging the scanner may help, as can trying to “shake” it; if it feels stiff or doesn’t feel right, leave the ATM immediately and don’t use it.
Always be wary of any device attached to an ATM or gas pump that appears unoriginal, especially if its design appears loose, out-of-place, or strangely constructed. If something appears amiss, leave the machine immediately and report it to your bank.
In addition to avoiding ATMs with suspicious features, you should also scan for a skimmer when using debit or credit cards at gas stations. Many thieves install skimmer scanners on the gas pump card readers so you need to inspect those too.

Are You Vulnerable to ATM Skimming Attacks?

Are You Vulnerable to ATM Skimming Attacks?

How Can You Protect Yourself From ATM Skimmers?

If you spot something fishy at an ATM, it could be a skimmer. These devices are commonly found at gas pumps and ATMs but can also be installed in retail stores to steal credit card information.
When making purchases or paying for fuel, opt for cash instead of debit or credit cards. Doing so can help protect you against skimmer fraud and identity theft.
Furthermore, you should regularly review your bank and credit card statements to check for any unusual charges or transactions. Doing this can help detect suspicious activity and report any unauthorized charges to both institutions.
Report any suspicious activity immediately, as this will likely be covered by your credit card’s zero fraud liability policy. That means your bank or card company should reimburse you for any fraudulent charges and send you a new card via postal mail.
If you suspect a skimmer has been installed, notify your bank or credit card company and the business where the fraudulent activity took place. Doing this will limit your liability and prevent other victims from falling prey to this scam.
Before inserting your card, be sure to inspect any ATMs you plan on using for security. Make sure all parts of the machine are tamper-proof; authentic card readers are robustly manufactured, so if any part can be easily manipulated or wiggled, it could indicate illegal installation by criminals.
Some skimmers even include hidden cameras that capture your PIN number, enabling criminals to make fraudulent purchases and withdraw money from your account without authorization.
One of the best ways to prevent skimmer fraud is by using mobile payment options such as Apple Pay or Google Pay at ATMs and retailers. These services offer extra protection by bypassing crooks’ equipment.
To help you spot a scammer, look out for these signs of illegal installation:
Start by inspecting the machine’s keypad. If it’s a fake keypad, pressing buttons may be difficult or they may feel sticky or spongy. Alternatively, the buttons could have a different color than usual.

How Can You Protect Yourself From ATM Skimmers?

How Can You Protect Yourself From ATM Skimmers?

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