Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ever wondered how skimming at an ATM works?

A lot is heard about card skimming at ATMs.  Most people have a vague understanding of what happens, and how the criminals involved cash out.  But do you really understand what they do, both to get your card data and your PIN, and also how they are subsequently used to create counterfeit cards for illegal cash withdrawals and other financial transactions?

If you can bear the Bond theme musical introduction, there is a video  produced by 'The Real Hustle' that explains quite well how the whole skimming thing works - from initial preparation of a skimming device to the final usage of the cloned cards.  It finishes with two bits of advice. 

1)  If you see anything that has been fixed to or sticking out from the card reader of an ATM, do not use the machine.
2) Always shield your PIN

Blog view:  Its fine to be suspicious of anything fixed to or sticking our from an ATM card reader throat, but bear in mind that such devices can also be genuine anti-skimming devices.  Best to be suspicious though.  Shielding your PIN, however should be routine.  While there are other ways to get your PIN (such as PIN pad overlays), covering your PIN does protect it from most visual compromise.  For more cardholder security tips and to see seized criminal video footage of PIN compromise, visit the website of the European ATM Security Team (EAST).

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