ATM Skimming Alert: Bank ATMs Converted to Steal IDs
Forwarded email flyer describes how criminals install special equipment called 'skimmers' on ATMs to steal unsuspecting bank customers' card numbers and PINs.
Description: Email flyer
Circulating since: 2004
Email contributed by Iris M., June 7, 2005:
This is IMPORTANT to look out for!
Bank ATM's Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers
A team of organized criminals are installing equipment on legitimate bank ATM's in at least 2 regions to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM (see photos). If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM.
The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN are cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer" is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.
At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.
The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.
Equipment being installed on front of existing bank card slot.
Tell more people >>>>>>>
Analysis: True. Albeit in slightly different form, the above scam alert was originally published by the University of Texas at Austin Police Department in 2004. The scam is real.
ATM skimming a method of identity theft using special equipment covertly installed on bank ATMs to capture users' PINs and card numbers is a real crime and on the rise, authorities say. Since it can be difficult to detect when a machine has been altered, experts recommend that bank customers take the following precautions to protect themselves:
- Use ATMs you're familiar with.
- Be on the lookout for changes in the equipment or signage.
- Block the keypad while entering your PIN.
See Bankrate.com's article, "ATM Skimming," for more information about this crime and how to avoid becoming a victim.
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Sources and further reading:
Bank ATMs Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers
Original scam alert from the University of Texas Police Dept.
Skimming the Cash Out of Your Account
Bankrate.com, 26 March 2003
ATM 'Skimming' Raises Identity Theft Concerns
WFTV News, 20 April 2004
ATM Skimming on the Rise
National Public Radio (Audio), 26 May 2005
Last updated: 02/02/10