How Does ATM Skimming Work?

There are many methods hackers may attempt to take your money and identity while you’re at the ATM.

Skimming is a technique that regularly involves criminals tampering with the card reader. Your card may appear jammed when you insert it into the ATM, and someone may walk up and suggest that you re‐enter your personal identification number (PIN).

When that doesn’t work, you may give up and leave, but that person ‐ the hacker‐ can regain your card along with the device he placed on the ATM machine. The hacker can use your card to withdraw money (since he saw you enter your PIN). Or, the hacker may watch you enter your PIN via a camera a distance from, or even appended to, the ATM.

Sometimes, your transaction may progress uninterrupted, but a skimmer appended to the card reader catches the data on your card, or a fake PIN pad or covering of the existing pad enables the hacker to steal your PIN. While you’ll get your card back, the thief can use the data from your card to replicate the card and withdraw cash.

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