It so happens that a vacation taken by a cyber security expert turns out to be yet another eye-opener for many.
While holidaying in Vienna, Austria, cyber security expert Benjamin Tedesco comes across a well-camouflaged ATM skimming machine.
Before we continue, let us tell you a little about what is ATM skimming?
For those who aren’t aware, ATM skimming is an illegitimate practice of stealing data from the magnetic strip (the black strip) on the back side of an ATM card. With the stolen data, criminals can generate fake cards and use them to steal money from the victim’s bank account. Fake card readers or number pads are ATM skimmers that are installed in the ATM in order to steal the card’s information.
Benjamin Tedesco was on his way to withdraw some cash from an ATM. Driven by his security paranoia, he decided to do a quick inspection of the machine. And that became his eureka moment! He was able to detach a fake card reader (ATM skimmer) that was skillfully attached to the real one and looked exactly like it. Tedesco has been thoughtful enough to shoot a small video of this entire incident so that users like us become more aware of such scams. Check out his video here:
You will notice in the video that the fake card reader was glued to the actual reader and the glue lining was visible. Tedesco ends his video with a note that we should be paranoid about our digital security because it does sometimes pay off. In addition to that, below are some quick tips you should keep in mind to protect yourself from ATM skipping.
#1. The first tip, as Tedesco puts it, always check for ATM skimmers (fake parts) before putting in your debit/credit card. While a visual inspection may not be helpful, you can always do a physical inspection by trying to tug, push or pull parts like the card reader, keypad, the cash dispenser, the lining of the screen, etc. ATMs generally don’t have parts that are badly constructed, are loose and oddly fashioned.
#2. Compare the ATM you are using with the one next to it. If you see any obvious difference, then don’t use it. Report this to the bank.
#3. Prefer using ATMs located in busy places. Avoid using those that are in remote or hidden locations such as those behind buildings, parking lots, and spots that are away from public view. For obvious reasons, such ATMs are usually targetted by criminals.
#4. While entering your card’s PIN, cover the keypad with one hand and type with the other. Scammers are getting craftier with their jobs. They install hidden cameras in multiple places to capture the PIN that is being entered by the user. The camera could be installed just below the ATM screen, somewhere near the keypad or even in a flower vase kept at a position adjacent to the ATM or opposite to it; in short, the camera could be anywhere that can help the crook steal your information.
Share this story with your friends, family and acquaintances so that they too can take the right secure measures to stay away from ATM skimming.