Even though consumers are more aware of ATM card skimmers, which record customers’ account data with the intention of using it to make fraudulent purchases and withdrawals, the money-and-President-defending folks at the Secret Service say the use of these illegal devices is actually on the rise.
If you’re the type of person who already reflexively jiggles every card slot and looks for pinhole cameras whenever you go to swipe your card, despair. There is no 100% foolproof way to protect yourself, as proven by a pair of banditos who stole 3,600 card numbers after installing a credit card skimmer inside several gas pumps, reports the MountainView Voice.
Be careful, travelers, skimmers aren’t just for ATMs. Here’s one a Dutch guy found on a local train ticket machine. This is even a little bit more insidious than an ATM skimmer because busy passengers are even less likely to hide their PIN or notice a skimming device before rushing to their next train. The site is in Dutch but just scroll through the labeled pictures. With phrases like “betterijen uit mobiele telefoon” it’s pretty easy to figure out what he’s talking about.
A former BoA IT worker has agreed to plead guilty to installing malware on the bank’s ATM machines in order to withdraw money whenever he felt like it, reports Wired. According to the plea agreement, his total take from the crime was between $200-400k. The bank won’t disclose how he did it or what the malware was like, but earlier this month Visa announced that new malware has hit the U.S. that could not only capture customers’ PINs and card data, but also give the criminal the ability to empty the machine of any cash that was in it.
Police have made arrests connected to a gas station credit card skimming ring that was bilking Northern California drivers for $20,000 a day, reports the Sacramento Bee. 11 credit card skimmers, loaded up with hundreds of credit card numbers from unwary consumers, were found in a car driven by the two men arrested in connected with the scheme, says the Martinez, California Police Department.
Just when you thought it was safe to fill up your car while filling yourself with a Big Gulp, a credit-card skimmer has turned up on a gas pump at a 7-Eleven in Vancouver, WA. The skimmer didn’t affect transactions, so customers were able to pump gas while the skimmer quietly collected their credit-card numbers.
Even if you always look for skimmers and hidden cameras when you use an ATM, you still might be a victim of identity theft if the ATM is later sold on eBay or Craigslist.
LiveLeak has posted surveillance video footage from earlier this month of a guy in Brazil installing a skimming device onto a bank ATM. The second half of the tape shows him being arrested and officials revealing the device, which just reminds us that the next time we use an ATM, we’re first going to take off a shoe and hit everything on it like it’s covered in giant ants. See the video below.
Credit card skimmers aren’t just on ATMs and in grocery stores, apparently they’re at Taco Bell. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that a ID theft ring was busted for skimming credit card numbers at a Taco Bell as well as stealing cards from people’s gym lockers.
Last week, a customer in Long Beach, New York, discovered a skimmer attached to the outside of a local ATM branch instead of on specific machines. We’ve talked a lot about being wary of any suspicious add-ons at the ATM, but in this case the criminals were collecting card info as people swiped to enter the building—although they still had pinhole cameras set up to record PINs next to each keypad.
Reader Kellie reports being the victim of an ATM skimming scam in the Chicago area. Mostly, she was amazed that the thefts weren’t reported in the local media, and she asked bank employees why. Here’s what they told her.
Nobody knows yet whether it was planted by an attendee, or if the ATM had been there for some period of time before the event, but hackers at last week’s DefCon conference in Las Vegas discovered a rogue unit that was designed to capture customers’ credit card data with each use.
Two men “of no fixed address” were charged in Maryland earlier this month with tampering with an ATM and skimming funds. The men, currently in custody in Oklahoma for similar crimes, allegedly added a skimmer and camera to an ATM at a Maryland PNC bank in April, but police weren’t notified of the tampering until May 20th.
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.