Police Warn Of ATM Scam

| July 14, 2009 | 1 Comment

The Annapolis Police Department is advising citizens to be alert for ATM “skimmers”— devices attached to ATMs by criminals looking to steal bank card information and PINs.

Simple skimmers involve a magnetic stripe reader and a hidden camera aimed at the ATM keypad. The reader takes card information, and the camera records PINs as they are entered. A camera aimed at the card reader to record the card’s printed security code can make the information available for online purchases.

In some cases, the mag stripe reader is placed next to the ATM’s actual card slot, which is covered with an “Out of Order” sign. The false reader also may be placed over the real card slot, retrieving data as the card passes through to the bank’s machine. Users get their money and receipt as if nothing had happened.

Most skimmers, key pad overlays, and cameras will be recognizable to frequent ATM users.

Customers should pay close attention to the card reader and anything that protrudes from the machine, like as a mirror or pamphlet-holder—these are perfect hiding places for tiny cameras. Give these items a quick tug to make sure they aren’t glued or taped into place. Anything attached, snapped or glued onto an ATM should be a warning sign.

Always conceal your fingers as you type your PIN (hold the other hand over the one typing). That way a hidden camera will have a hard time capturing your PIN.

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Category: Crime News

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John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.