ATM Skimmers

For several years, reports of ATM skimmer devices have been increasing. These devices are usually designed to fit over the card receptacle on an ATM machine or gas pump or other form of debit/credit card reader. They intercept the card data and may also collect the pin number entered and save the data for thieves to retrieve and use to extract money from the account. Both the frequency of this fraud and the sophistication of the technology being used are increasing rapidly. The link titled, “Would You Have Spotted the Fraud?” below shows how thin and deceptive these skimmers have become.

How to avoid ATM skimming. – [fraudpreventionunit.org]

What is ATM skimming? For those who might not already know, it essentially involves a card-reading device placed over the real card slot on an ATM. This device captures account information from the card. Meanwhile, the victim’s PIN is captured, either with a small camera hidden on the machine or with a keypad overlay that can be removed later. The criminal creates new cards using blank plastic card stock (even unactivated gift cards), which are then used to drain victims’ accounts. All of these devices can blend in extremely well with the real ATM hardware, and can be hard to detect.

Criminals Hide Payment-Card Skimmers Inside Gas Station Pumps – [darkreading.com]

Criminals hid bank card-skimming devices inside gas pumps — in at least one case, even completely replacing the front panel of a pump — in a recent wave of attacks that demonstrate a more sophisticated, insidious method of stealing money from unsuspecting victims filling up their gas tanks.

Some 180 gas stations in Utah, from Salt Lake City to Provo, were reportedly found with these skimming devices sitting inside the gas pumps. The scam was first discovered when a California bank’s fraud department discovered that multiple bank card victims reporting problems had all used the same gas pump at a 7-Eleven store in Utah.

Would You Have Spotted the Fraud? – [krebsonsecurity.com]

Pictured below is what’s known as a skimmer, or a device made to be affixed to the mouth of an ATM and secretly swipe credit and debit card information when bank customers slip their cards into the machines to pull out money. Skimmers have been around for years, of course, but thieves are constantly improving them, and the device pictured below is a perfect example of that evolution.

ATM Skimmers, Part II – [krebsonsecurity.com]

Doten has built an impressive slide deck on ATM fraud attacks, and pictured below are some of the more interesting images he uses in his presentations.

According to Doten, the U.S. Secret Service estimates that annual losses from ATM fraud totaled about $1 billion in 2008, or about $350,000 each day. Card skimming, where the fraudster affixes a bogus card reader on top of the real reader, accounts for more than 80 percent of ATM fraud, Doten said.

Would You Have Spotted this ATM Fraud? – [krebsonsecurity.com]

Indeed, police in Alexandria, Va. — just a couple of miles to the East of where I reside — recently were alerted to skimmer found on an ATM at a Wachovia Bank there. The device reportedly was discovered On Sunday, Feb. 28, at around 1:30 p.m., by an ATM technician (no one I’ve asked has been able to explain why the technician was there on a Sunday in the first place, but I digress). According to the Alexandria Police, the technician spotted the skimming device attached to the card reader on the ATM, snapped some pictures of it, and then went inside the bank to notify the bank’s security office. When he returned a few minutes later, the skimmer had been removed.

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