HOWTO protect yourself from ATM skimmers

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20 Responses to “HOWTO protect yourself from ATM skimmers”

  1. Waiting for some hipster crochet flip attachment for your sleeve to get featured on Boing Boing.

    Bonus points if it looks like a skeleton’s hand, or something other than just the top of a plain mitt.

  2. dragonfrog says:

    As has been pointed out before (somewhere?  Maybe via Schneier?), a fundamental flaw that allows the ATM skimmers to work is that every different bank and convenience withdrawal ATM company uses a different ATM design, with crazy knurls, whorls, flanges, bumps, divots, light-up panels, protruding widgets, etc.

    Try a google image search for “ATM” – ask yourself how you would recognize a skimmer that was minimally competently designed (used the right colour scheme, basically) attached to one you’re unfamiliar with.

    If ATMs were universally flat – no raised edges, bevels, indents – any skimmer attached to the face around the card slot would immediately stand out as unusual. Banks could do this, but they don’t, even though it would be effective. Instead we get advice that the banks know is perfectly useless, as 99.9% of their customers won’t follow it.

  3. mikekstar says:

    When are we going to get serious about ATM fraud and implement chip & pin systems like they use in Europe? 

    Also, another simple and free method you should do before using any ATM is to give the cowling surrounding the card slot a good tug before you insert your card.   

  4. emacsomancer says:

    That’s fine – they’ll just skim them from your brain then: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/09/hacking_brain-c.html

  5. theophrastvs says:

    Why did the skimmer designer include audio?  just to pick up the self-confident whistling?  (“ey ralphie! ifurget, what’s my pin number again?!”)

  6. Adela Doiron says:

    Or just not use ATMs. Plan out your finances and banking so that you can just go to a teller during normal hours for cash the old fashion way.  The amazing thing about being low income is I can’t afford to just withdraw a twenty randomly.

  7. DataShade says:

    Wasn’t there an article where some of the cameras use thermal vision and would check for heat signatures left after you pressed keys?

    So cover and maybe hold your hand down over all the keys for a second before you lift your hand away.

  8. Kevin Liske says:

    I use the technique spreading the palm and fingers of my right hand over the keypad and then using my index finger and thumb to hit the keys.  Not perfect, but obscures a great deal.

  9. McGreens says:

    Hang on, drive-through ATMs? Seriously?

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