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How Scammers Can Steal Your Debit Card and PIN in Less than 10 Seconds


SEP 29

Chances are you’ve got an ATM or debit card, and if you’re like most Americans, you visit ATMs dozens of times a year. But scammers have a new trick to steal your debit card number and PIN to drain your bank account, and it takes less than 10 seconds to accomplish.

You know the drill – go to the ATM, insert your debit card, type in your PIN, and you’ve got instant access to your cash. But scammers have devised a way to capture not only your debit card number, but your PIN as well.

How can they do this so easily?

There are two devices that help scammers accomplish their goal – a device called a skimmer, and a hidden camera.

The skimmer is a custom device that fits right over the card reader slot where you scan your debit card. This card reads and records your card information, which is also passed along to the ATM machine, so the user doesn’t suspect anything is amiss.

While the skimmer captures your debit card or ATM number, capturing your PIN is a different process completely. Using a small hidden camera placed either inside the skimmer, or elsewhere near the ATM facing the keypad, the tiny camera simply watches you type your PIN, and records it on video.

Just this week, police in Bronxville, NY, discovered a skimmer and hidden camera on a local ATM machine. Bank employees were alerted when a customer noticed the device, and police were quickly called to investigate.

To avoid being the victim of skimming, experts recommend wiggling the card reader – if it is loose, or especially if it comes off, report it to bank officials immediately. Covering the PIN keypad with your hand while entering your PIN is also another way to foil any hidden camera from recording your PIN as well.

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