MERIT Solutions Blog

MERIT Solutions has been serving the Chesapeake area since 1982, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Scammers and Skimmers Are a Bad Combination

Scammers and Skimmers Are a Bad Combination

Considering how often hackers target financial credentials like credit card numbers and expiration dates, it’s not surprising that ATMs can provide a wealth of information to them. Hackers are willing to go exceedingly far just to get their hands on these credentials--including physically altering the devices themselves to install skimmers and other technology on them. Unless you know what to look for, it can be difficult to tell if a machine has been tampered with.

For example, this news article from this past July shows a rather troublesome case of ATM skimming. The device used is a piece of plastic that slips right over the ATM card reader, and it’s designed to do so without being seen by the user. If you’re not paying attention, you could accidentally expose your credentials directly to the hacker.

There are a considerable amount of cases that involve a hacker installing custom hardware onto ATMs that can wirelessly transmit credentials, who might be lurking somewhere nearby. They can then harvest credentials at their leisure.

What would you do if you took a look at your bank account and found that you no longer have a balance in your checking account? What if you wound up going into debt because of this? What if someone has stolen your identity and is making purchases in foreign countries? The best way to keep this from happening is to be careful of ATM skimmers in the first place. Keep the following tips in mind when using an ATM.

  • Cameras surrounding the ATM: Before you stick your card in the ATM, make sure that there are several cameras pointing directly at the machine. This usually means that a hacker likely won’t try to mess with the device. ATMs usually have built-in cameras anyway, but it can never hurt to take another look around.
  • Tampering with the device: Give the device a once-over before you try to use it. Are any faceplates removed, or devices sticking out of it? If there is anything that doesn’t look natural, chances are that it’s been tampered with by a hacker.
  • Additional testing: Before you place your card in the device, take a look at the insert slot. Has it been placed on artificially? Just look for anything that’s out of place. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What do you think about ATM skimmers? Do you think you can identify threats to your financial credentials? To learn more, reach out to us at (757) 420-5150.

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