Apr 26

Watch out for ATM Debit Card Skimmers

by Wil Knoll · 1 comment

I’m stepping a bit out of my theater scene for a second here to pass on a heads up. @MrCoBalt on twitter reported on Friday that he had found a Debit Card Skimmer on the ATM at the TD Canada Trust in Brentwood. The device was removed and the Calgary Police Service was notified. Today, he goes back into the same branch and there’s ANOTHER Debit Card Skimmer there.

Debit Card Skimmers have been around for a while, and Calgary has not been safe from them. But with such a brazen repeat attack, it might be worthwhile to talk a bit about them so that we all act a bit more vigilant when using the ATM machine.

What is an ATM card skimmer? It’s a little device that is designed to look like it’s the card slot. It’s job is to record the data on the magnetic strip. It may also have a camera pointed at the PIN pad to record you inputting your PIN number. When they can not build that into the unit, a camera will be placed in something else, a mirror that sits on top of the mirror where the bank’s camera is placed, a false front that looks like the ATM’s logo, or even the little box that holds envelopes for deposit cheques. Some skimmers are accompanied by fake PIN pads that sit on top of the real ones and just record all button presses.

Some of these devices are even reporting the data wirelessly, so the crooks never have to reclaim the devices. Once the data is collected, well, take a guess at what happens.

So, what do you do?

No matter what debit machine you are using do a little bit of physical investigation of the machine. Tug on the machine face surrounding the card slot. Give every edge around the card slot a good tug and look for other things that seem out of place. EVERY DEBIT MACHINE. Card skimmers are now sold on the Internet by make and model, that’s how prevalent this is getting. Even drive through ATMs, even the ATMs inside bank branches.

Keep an eye on your bank statements as well.

Be safe guys.

Some examples :


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