How To Quickly Check For Card Skimmers On ATMs

How To Quickly Check For Card Skimmers On ATMs

ATM card skimmers come in a variety of forms. NPR talked with an ATM technician to figure out the most common ways to spot skimmers, and it turns out you really just need to jiggle the equipment a little.

Photo remixed from William Grootonk.

On top of checking for cameras above the machine (or just covering your hand when entering your PIN), NPR says you need to look for two things: a loose card slot and a fake keypad. Essentially, if the card slot or the keypad seems loose, don’t use the machine, because that’s a telltale sign the machine is hacked. It’s as simple as that.

How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off At The ATM [NPR]


  • how about ATM staff check the units physically more often perhaps…

    even tamper proof slots where you can’t stick a skimmer on…
    (I think Bendigo or ANZ has something like that)

  • Of course if you DO find a fake machine, don’t just walk off, inform the people inside. Last thing you want is to dodge a bullet so that someone else can get hit by it.

  • I always thought it would be good to have a real image appear on the screen of what the ATM should look like with close ups of the card slot and keypad so people could compare. Not foolproof but still.

    • Touchscreens on ATMs will probably happen when blind people can see.

      Although, to cut the sarcasm I do believe people are working on touchscreens that can spontaneously created raised sections when buttons appear

    • BankWest ATMs already have touchscreens… Admittedly only for selecting options, and not actually entering your PIN.

      Wouldn’t a touch screen for entering a PIN make it ridiculously easy to skimmers to dust for prints after someone has used it? (ie. wipe the screen down before the target uses the machine, then line up right after them and dust once they’ve walked away…)

  • Every (ANZ) ATM i go to seems to have a different card reader part.. Why don’t they standardise these things. Also have the ATM screen show a picture of what it should look like.

    • You can make your own for a couple of dollars. Just get a cardboard box, spraypaint it silver and write on it “Macheen out of order, put cards hear plz”. Gets ’em every time, especially if you write “pin pad broke, right pin number hear” on a notepad and leave a pen dangling from a string next to it.

      As for dispensing cash, you can just have a slide-out draw where you can keep some money for people to take.

  • A card skimmer is generally held on with double sided tape. Perps also fit a camera either above or to the side of the key pad. No ATM will have a pamphlet holder attached to it, (that is generally a teltale sign of a hidden camera.

    If anything doesnt look like it matches the facade of the ATM check it, wiggle it, try to move it . ATMs are build solid to protect the contents. nothing should ever come of in your hands.

  • or you know, make ATMs only have the chip readers instead of the magnetic strip readers, give everyone new chip cards, problem solved?
    (maybe add a NFC jammer in the ATM so they don’t go down that route)

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