Thursday, March 25, 2010

ATM Skimmers- a conversation

This story from Krebs on Security reminded me of an ATM related incident a few months ago.

I normally use an ATM located in the reception area of the headquarters of the state police. It's just across the skyway from where I work, and most importantly, it's owned by a credit union that doesn't charge me for withdrawals.  Free ATM's are a good thing.

A couple months ago,  as I was about to slide my card, I looked up at the ceiling, scanned the nearby walls, grabbed the card reader and wiggled it up and down a bit, and bent down and looked at the bottom of the reader.

The receptionist look at me,  'um - can I help you?'

Me: "I was just thinking about the probability of finding a card skimmer on an ATM in the lobby of the state police headquarters.  Do you supposed it's possible?"

Her: (laugh) "I heard about those - how do they work?"

Me: [short explanation]

Her: "I don't know if I could tell the difference."

Me: "I'm not sure I can either..."

We both agreed that it was unlikely that someone would be able to skim this particular ATM. The receptionist is always behind the desk, facing the ATM; the lobby is only open business hours, and that because of heavy use by law enforcement officers, odds are it would be detected.

I like that ATM.

There's a new dance that's popular now, called the 'Skimmer Squint'.  It's when the patron bends over & looks up at the bottom of the card reader, peers into the slot, steps back, glances left, right, up & down, grabs the reader and jiggles it...

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1 comment:

  1. I always do that too. It's hard to judge how hard to pull before you break a legitimate ATM-card nozzle, vs pull off a skimmer. I'd like to find one in real life, just to compare the force to

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