Whenever I’m in New York City and load up a MetroCard at the train station kiosk, I give the card readers extra scrutiny and think to myself, “such a high-volume spot would be a great place to install a skimmer.” My paranoia was justified: earlier this week, the Metropolitan Transit Authority warned the public that they’ve found card skimmers on a few of those very kiosks.
We’ve covered card skimmers often over the years, because the best way to protect the readers we love from having their card data stolen is through education. If you know what to look for, you won’t be a victim of crude skimmer systems. (Data breaches and more sophisticated skimmers? These tips won’t help you there, unfortunately.)
Here are the photos of one skimmer, both installed on the card machine and removed from it. It looks like grabbing the card-reader portion of the skimmer and trying to pull it loose would have exposed this one, and that may be how the anonymous hero who turned the skimmer in to the MTA discovered it.
That thing that looks like an electric plug? The hole in the bottom is a camera, which captures the keypad while victims enter their PIN.
If you’ve passed through the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station or the Baldwin station of the LIRR in recent weeks, keep a closer eye than usual on your card statements.