If an ATM you’d like to use is enclosed in a vestibule that requires a card swipe at the door, it might be a good idea to go find another machine, or at least use something other than a payment card to gain entry. Thieves frequently add skimmers to these key card locks and then hide cameras above or beside such ATMs, allowing them to steal your PIN and card data without ever actually tampering with the cash machine itself.
One recent skimming incident began when fraudsters placed a card skimmer directly on top of this key card “dip” device, which managed access to a bank ATM vestibule:
The attackers in this incident then placed a hidden camera in a false panel above the ATM.
Here’s the backside of the phony door card reader the thieves placed on top of the legitimate card reader:
Take a gander at the technology stuffed into the false overhead panel, which appears to have been powered by a disassembled Casio digital camera:
Pro tip: These door security devices aren’t too smart, and most of them will happily accept just about any card with a magnetic stripe. But don’t take my word for it: Next time you pass one of these ATM vestibules on the street, whip out your library card or ID card and see for yourself.
Sometimes crooks will remove the door card readers and actually tinker with the technology inside the reader, as I detailed in a skimmer story from 2011. In that incident, the hidden camera was stuck behind a mirror that was affixed to the wall several inches above the actual ATM. The thieves in this case might have done the same, as the dip card device appears to have been affixed to the door with little more than two Phillips-head screws.
If you enjoyed this post and are fascinated by skimming devices, there are more than three dozen other skimming stories in this ongoing series — All About Skimmers.