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The ATM Skimmer Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The ATM Scam is costing citizens of the U.K. £75 million per year – it is a high-tech hustle wherein the scammers attach a device over the slot of an ATM machine. This device will read all the information from the magnetic strip on the back of your card, and record for future use by the thieves. It still allows the genuine ATM reader to accept your information and dispense money, so the mark has no clue that he has just been the victim of an electronic rip-off.

The Mark: Nobody is immune, and no individual is more or less susceptible than another – with the exception of those visiting this site, that is. Armed with the lessons that shining a bright light on this hustle will teach you, you have a much better chance of avoiding this swindle.

The Scam: Our thieves have for the moment morphed into a “geek squad,” putting their technical talents to work fabricating a magnetic-strip reader. This will be fitted to a slot that will overlay the actual slot on an ATM machine. When it is in place, only careful examination will reveal that it is not an original part of the machine, but a nefarious add-on designed to steal sensitive information. The device is called a “skimmer.” Also built into this fabricated piece is a pin-hole camera, which will capture your PIN as you punch it into the keyboard.

Our scammer finds a likely cash point location, and when alone, casually performs what looks like a normal ATM transaction. But what he has really done is the equivalent of a highwayman setting up an ambush on a country road – he has installed a device that will ambush the precious information on your ATM card’s magnetic strip.

To enhance the scam, another of the hustlers will perform a transaction on the ATM directly in front of the first mark, subconsciously reinforcing in the mark’s mind that the ATM is perfectly safe and operating normally.

What happens next is predictable: a series of marks walk up to the machine and perform ordinary transactions, which the ATM handles in an ordinary way. After the device has collected and stored enough information, our original dip returns to the hijacked machine and removes the skimmer. What follows turns the improvised skimming mechanism into a cash machine in and of itself.

Back at the lair, the purloined information on the skimmer is downloaded into a PC through the use of a card reader. Then, using any card with a magnetic strip (a mobile top-up card is most popular these days), a new card is created using the stolen numbers. This is done by swiping the top-up through a reader which erases the existing information on the mag strip, and swiping again to transfer the information from the PC to the freshly-erased strip. The top-up card has now become a clone of your ATM card!

All that remains for the scammer to do is to visit a cash-point and take your money. All that remains of your savings account is dust.

The Lesson Learned: Now that you are aware of the way this scam operates, there are methods you can use to avoid becoming a victim. First, make sure you examine the machine thoroughly before you insert your card. This doesn’t need to take an hour, just a few moments to observe that all the parts of the machine are the proper color and finish; and that nothing looks like it’s sticking out awkwardly, or is otherwise disproportionate. Look for any sign of a pinhole camera, too. If anything looks wrong – walk away. Use another machine.

One final thing: a fail-safe. ALWAYS shield your PIN number. If the scammers cannot read that, all the mag strip information in the world will avail them nothing.

  1. Gabrial valentine Said,

    And how hard is it for them to Make them? Please email me. I find this interesting although slighty worrying that it’s actually possible to do such a thing

  2. Courtney Said,

    Hi, was wondering if you could help me…
    Have you ever seen ‘Hustle,’ the show that ‘The real hustle’ is based upon. Well, if you have then there is one question I would like answered. The only atm fraud discuss is one concerning skimmers, but on the first episode of the first series of HUSTLE a scam is played where a man (Ash) makes a transaction at an atm machine, no money is retrieved but before the money dispenser slot closes he (Ash) runs a white device under the slot that immediately closes it. He then goes across the street and procedes to watch people try (and fail) to make transactions due to the slot being closed. The man (Ash) once again returns across the street after several people have made transaction attempts and makes another transaction. However, when the money doesnt come out for him, he looks over his shoulder and then bangs the machine hard, whereupon the slot opens and money rains out.
    Sorry for that long description. Now for my actual question.
    I was wondering if you could possibly tell me more about this scam or describe to me the device used.
    Thank you,
    Courtney

  3. Kevin Nicol Said,

    Reputable, UK-based and English-speaking provider of high-quality products. If you’re trust-worthy, professional and looking for a speedy transaction then email me at UK_dumpswithpins at yahoo

  4. Sam Said,

    What kind of magnetic stripe reader do they use 2 program the cards?
    Is it a reader/ writer or a cheaper reader?
    Where can u get this from?

  5. Sam Said,

    Where could you get the cheap card writer they use at the end

  6. n00dle Said,

    Skimmers are a thing of the past, if you want a really good hustle to throw on your program, contact me via my email address.

    It involves accessing an via a land line (Dialing into the atm via a modem) and doing something that is called “Jackpotting”.

    n00dle

  7. Jack Said,

    @ Courtney. If you get an answer to your question could you please tell me.

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