Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

Beware New 'Wiretap' ATM Skimmers

by Fox Van Allen on December 03, 2014

Hand shielding the entry of a PIN at an ATM

You can protect against the vast majority of ATM card skimmers
simply by physically obscuring your hand when entering your PIN.

Here at Techlicious, we’ve discussed how important it is to check ATMs, gas station card readers and even post office stamp kiosks for card skimmers. The tiny theft-enabling devices are everywhere, and, according to the security experts at the European ATM Security team, they’re getting much harder to find. Thieves are now experimenting with a new type of wiretapping device that can steal your account numbers without needing access to your card’s magnetic stripe at all.

Brian Krebs explained the details of how the new device works on his blog Krebs on Security. Criminals drill a small hole into the front of an ATM machine where the “insert card” decal is located. They then feed a wire into the machine using a metal rod to tap the ATM’s existing card reader. A new decal is then pasted over the hole, making the crime incredibly difficult to detect.

Another new type of device called the “insert transmit skimmer” is also gaining favor among thieves. It’s made up of two small steel plates and fits directly in an ATM card reader. The tiny device reads debit cards and transmits the stolen information to a nearby receiving device, usually about 1 meter away.

Like traditional skimmers, both of these new devices require a hidden camera for thieves to steal your PIN. Krebs warns that thieves are increasingly hiding cams in fake sidebar panels. Cameras have even been discovered hiding in fake bank brochure holders, so be sure to keep an eye out for anything that looks unusual, altered or suspicious. And always obscure your hand when using an ATM or other card reader that requires a PIN, even if no other humans are around – it’s good security practice and an effective defense against these skimmer and tapping attacks.

[Shielded ATM keypad via Shutterstock]


Privacy, News, Travel & Entertainment, Blog

Discussion loading


From Diana Hammond on December 03, 2014 :: 1:10 pm

Took a couple of paper clamps/clips and some heavy duty tin foil shaped into a half dome, wide enough and tall enough to get my hand in. Clips on the front edges help it sit where needed. Set it down on the keyboard of the atm or clip it to the vertical ones. The foil is fook alexible enough to reshape as needed & it cost only pennies to make.
Problem solved.


Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.