4 Clever Ways to Prevent ATM Skimmers from Stealing Your Money

At present, purchasing things with the use of a bank card and withdrawing money from an ATM has become habitual for almost all people. That’s why criminals take advantage of this.
Here are the most common ways your ATMs are manipulated by scammers to steal your money—and how you will be able to protect yourself against this.


Two things are needed by the criminals in order to be able to steal money from your card: your PIN number and that information contained in the magnetic strip of your card. Data on a bank card can be stolen with the use of 3 devices.

Skimmers – these are devices that can read the information enclosed in the magnetic strip on your card. They can usually be found above the card slot on an ATM. Once someone inserts his/her card into it, their data is transferred by the skimmer to the criminal’s electronic device.

Hidden cameras – these are used together with the skimmer in order to make a video of your PIN number. The camera can be placed on the ATM itself (above the screen, near the keypad or nearby). Often times, because they are so small, they can be hidden in the tiny opening on the ATM.

Cover Plate – this can be placed over the keypad to record your PIN number – which is being “remembered” by the fake keypad once it was removed by the criminal and started to decode the information it contains.


Skimmers are almost identical to an ordinary ATM when it comes to shape, material, and color. It is very difficult to detect. Luckily, there are some signs you can look out for:

• Any unexplainable or extraneous features on the ATM.

• Parts sticking out on the card slot or an uneven card slot.

• Slashes, scratches, cracks, and other signs of mechanical damage to the ATM.

• Discrepancies in the shape, material, color, or contours of the ATM.


If you will be checking every ATMs you are going to use, it may really be time-consuming. But there are still ways to protect yourself against scammers. Stick to these rules to reduce the risk to a minimum:

1. You must use a card with a chip. Skimmers can only copy that information contained in the magnetic strip. It is impossible to copy information in a chip because of its more sophisticated features.

2. Sign up for texts from your bank. This will enable you to have quick actions when the money on your card is being taken. The earlier you are notified, the more possible it is to get your money back.

3. When you type your PIN number, make sure to cover the keypad with your hand in order to prevent hidden cameras from recording it.

4. Use well-known ATMs located in well-protected areas -- such as within branches of banks themselves, because these are harder for scammers to reach. As much as you can, avoid ATMs on the street, as well as those in poorly lit areas, secluded parts of malls and small shops.

5. Limit the area where you use your card. Use a separate card for when you’re abroad. Set limits on the amount that can be withdrawn from your ATM, as well as limits on online transactions.


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