10 October 2008 @ 8:22ATM Skimmers send your card info wirelessly

ATM skimmers are now being manufactured with the ability to send to the thief an SMS message containing all skimmed card data, thus greatly reducing the risk of the thief getting caught retrieving data from the skimmer.

ATM Skimmer

For those who don’t know, an ATM skimmer is a device that is inconspicuously mounted over an ATM’s card reader slot, and when a card is inserted, the skimmer reads the card data and either stores or delivers wirelessly (in this case) the card data to some unauthorized person to use as they wish.

ATM skimmers are nothing new. What’s new is the ability for skimmers to deliver the “goods” surreptitiously without the need for thieves to put themselves at risk of being caught by police.

The makers of ATM skimmers are using similar shapes for their devices so that the skimmers lines match the ATM’s, thus making it more difficult to tell that there is a foreign device attached to the ATM. The skimmer makers are also obtaining the same paints as the ATM manufacturers in an attempt to camouflage their devices.

The initial investment required to enter the skimming “business” is steep. For example, the device capable of sending SMS data starts at $8,500, but for thieves, such an investment might well be worth the risk.

So who’s responsibility is it to protect the ATM users? Ideally, banks should frequently inspect their ATMs and monitor all activity that takes place at the ATM. Of course this doesn’t always happen, so the bulk of the responsibility falls on you, the cardholder. If anything looks out of place at an ATM, don’t use it. Go on the next one, preferably an ATM that appears to be well maintained and well monitored. Never accept “help” at an ATM. If the ATM doesn’t return your card, call the bank immediately. You really can’t be too careful.

An example of an ATM skimmer

An example of an ATM skimmer

Another example of an ATM skimmer

Another example of an ATM skimmer

[source ZDNet]

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