Before You Swipe Your ATM Card Again, There’s Something Important You Should Know

At one time or another, everyone swipes their debit or credit card at an automated teller machine (ATM). Although the process of using the machine is quite rudimentary, there may be something detrimental that you may be missing and it could cost you every dollar you have.

According to Fox News, card skimmers have been found at several banks around the country. However, banks aren’t the only place you swipe your card. So, what are card skimmers? A skimmer is a replicated device that looks like an ATM card reader. Although the skimmer closely resembles an ATM, it’s definitely not what it seems.

This particular device is actually placed over the ATM card slot to record account and debit card information. Once the information is recorded to the device, scammers can access your accounts, withdraw funds, and complete debit card transactions. Unfortunately, most card users probably wouldn’t notice unless they were forewarned. By the time most victims make the shocking discovery, it’s already too late.

NBC 12 shared two images that show the distinct difference between a perfectly normal ATM and one with a skimmer. Although skimmers may be a bit difficult to spot, PC Mag previously shared a detailed report about the distinct differences between the two devices.

This comparison shows how difficult it can be to spot a skimming device on an ATM; the one on the right has the skimmer in place over the card reading slot. (Credit: NBC12)

Here’s an excerpt from the report.

“The typical ATM skimmer is a device smaller than a deck of cards that fits over the existing card reader. Most of the time, the attackers will also place a hidden camera somewhere in the vicinity with a view of the number pad in order to record personal-identification-numbers. The camera may be in the card reader, mounted at the top of the ATM, or even just to the side inside a plastic case holding brochures. Some criminals may install a fake PIN pad over the actual keyboard to capture the PIN directly, bypassing the need for a camera.”


In addition to knowing what to look out for, there are a couple of things you can do if your accounts have been compromised. Change the PIN for the account and ATM card, and make sure to check the account statements regularly for suspicious activity.

If any questionable transactions appear on your statements, contact your banking institution immediately.

[Photo by Chris Hondros / Getty Images]