Just when you thought that you and your ATM card data were safe from criminal eyes, Scientific American brings a different sort of threat. This time, the skimmers are inside the machine. Malware within the ATM itself harvests enough data to do some very bad things.
Four Romanian nationals in Florida have been charged in a series of ATM skimmer frauds that targeted banks in New York City, Cicero (near Syracuse), NY, and Rochester, NY. They are charged with, among other things, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. According to the Syracuse office of the Secret Service, they stole $1.8 million overall.
Here’s a 24-page PDF of a powerpoint on ATM skimmers that’s making the rounds in Australia. If you’ve been reading every ATM skimming post, most of this is review, but it contains several more examples of what skimmers can look like and what to watch out for. Though it’s from an Australian bank, most of the information is general enough to apply to any ATM. A handy document to pass around to friends and family to warn them about ATM skimming dangers.
A lot of you have been asking to see what a skimmer looks like before it’s yanked off an ATM. Are they easy to spot or virtually unnoticeable? Our reader Timeus works for a bank and deals with this sort of thing every day, and he sent in the following photos. Enjoy.
Kelly sent us these pics of a card skimmer he found yesterday on a Bank of America ATM in Atlanta. He writes, “I asked the police what to do; they said give it to the bank. I asked the bank what to do, they said give it to the police. I assume that no one has established standard procedures to handle this kind of thing yet.” Well if nothing else, send us a photo! Then we can publicize it for other readers, which is how Kelly found it in the first place: “I would have not even recognized it or known to look for it had I not read the article on your website a week earlier about what to look for.” Full size pics below.
Three different ATM skimmers were found this week and reported on blogs, raising the question of what the heck is going on considering these are supposed to be a rarity. First, our reader Dan found a skimmer on a WaMu/Chase ATM in LA. Gizmodo picked up the story and subsequently their reader Sean Seibel found a skimmer on a Chase ATM in Manhattan’s East Village. Then this kid Nick McGlynn found a setup similar to the one Sean did, also on a Chase ATM. Now, when our reader Dan took the credit-card snagging device skimmer to the police he said they, “got a big kick out of the skimmer, saying they’d never seen one in person.” Hmm… Let’s look at a bunch of sexy ATM skimming photos and figure out what’s up with all these skimmers cropping up…
Since you guys liked yesterday’s post where a reader found an ATM skimming device so much, Network World has got a bit of “Rogue’s Gallery” of the credit card-number stealing machines so you’ll better know what to look for out in the wild. For instance, this photo shows how thieves will mount a camera on the ATM so they can record you typing in your PIN. It’s placed over the statement dispenser using plastic that matches perfectly with the “host” ATM. Sneaky.
Dan says over the weekend he discovered a card skimmer attached to the ATM at his local WaMu branch. He pulled it off and took photos of it.
Redbox rents DVD movies via vending machine in drugstores and supermarkets throughout the country, and on Friday they announced that they’d found credit card skimmers attached to three of their kiosks. What’s surprising is that they ‘fessed up so quickly, and in a highly public manner—they’ve got the text “SECURITY ALERT” at the top and bottom of their website, and the email they sent to their members is detailed, forthright, and helpful, and reposted in its entirety—along with photos of sample card skimmers—on their site. Attempts at identity theft no longer surprise us, but a competent handling of the issue by a company is pretty amazing.
Police suspect that a card skimmer installed at a gas station in El Monte, CA is responsible for $10,000 in credit card fraud, says KNBC:
“It looks like the victims were gassing up here and using the outside pump terminals, and their credit card information was compromised,” El Monte police Detective Brian Glick said.
In case you weren’t aware, a skimmer is a tiny device that reads your credit card number and delivers it to the bad guys.