Debit Card Skimmers

I thought I'd share this warning with you about credit card skimmers. These devices steal your debit card number and either record it for later retrieval, or send it via text message to the thief. Some even have little cameras that record your pin number entry.

Pictured below is what’s known as a skimmer, or a device made to be affixed to the mouth of an ATM machine and secretly swipe credit and debit card information when bank customers slip their cards into the machines to pull out money. Skimmers have been around for years, of course, but thieves are constantly improving them, and the device picture below is a perfect example of that evolution.

This particular skimmer was found Dec. 6, 2009, attached to the front of a Citibank ATM in Woodland Hills, Calif. Would you have been able to spot this?

This type of fraud is actually far more common that you might think: A quick query on Twitter for “ATM skimmer” usually brings up plenty of local news reports about these devices being found on ATMs.

Practice basic ATM street smarts and you should have little to fear from these skimmers: If you see something that doesn’t look right — such as a odd protrusion or off-color component on an ATM — consider going to another machine. Also, stay away from ATMs that are not located in publicly visible and well-lit areas.



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