Recently ran across this article at KrebsonSecurity analyzing common ATM skimmers that they found installed around the city and I was amazed at how well hidden they were — I’m almost certain I’ve used an ATM or gas pump with a skimmer on it now that I look at these.
One common theme that seems to exist with these skimmers is that they require a camera to capture the PIN number being inserted. The skimmer itself will read the magnetic data off the card, but without the PIN it’s useless — and that’s where the camera comes into play.
In some cases it’s a bit easier to spot, like the pin-hole in the card reader above, but in other cases, it’s in a place you wouldn’t normally look at while using an ATM:
The one thing I could thing of to try and combat this is to hover/lean over the keypad when typing in your number so even if there is a camera, it can’t catch the keystrokes.
Krebson also recommends not using ATMs in more quiet parts of town that could have been modified — using high traffic areas as it would be more problematic for thieves to install the surveillance equipment unnoticed. I’d say be wary of any machine you are using and look for “odd” additions to the machine — like a card slot that seems cluttered or like some of the original markings of the ATM are being covered up by some addition to it.
Here are some more shots of skimmers in action, I can barely spot them except for something “off” about SOME of the ATMs that have them — not even all of them. Stay alert out there: