Beware of ATM frauds. Skimmer devices on ATMs to collect cards details


Beware of ATM frauds, some groups are active in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad who install skimmer devices on ATMs to collect cards details and then withdraw money from the accounts.

Despite having security cameras in ATM booths banks of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are seemed helpless to counter skimmer devices. The managements of all the banks have orders their branches to regularly check ATMs for security but it is not an effective way to fight the menace.

Many people have lost their money from their accounts and some are having other problems because of misuse of their ATM cards.When media contacted official spokesman of Punjab Police (Rawalpindi) Syed Imran Haider, he said that it is under the knowledge of police that some groups are using skimmer devices in twin cities but so far they haven’t received any registered complaint from any bank customer in this regard. He said it is just because people don’t have awareness and they don’t contact police to register their complaints.

A manager of a private bank, on condition of anonymity, said that it is very difficult to counter skimmer devices, as banks have lots of ATMs and it is impossible for them to depute security on each ATM booth. He said almost all the banks are helpless and no one has technology to counter skimmer devices. “Only measures the banks have taken is that they have circulated an office order directing staff to regularly visit ATM for security check,” he added.

He said that ATM skimmer is a device placed over the original card slot to capture the card information. This information then is transferred to another card with the help of card writer. The new card then could be used to withdraw money or purchases.

There are three types of skimmer devices, first kind is normal skimmers which captures card information and stores the memory. This device is first installed and then removed for getting the data and downloading it on a computer.

Second is a bluetooth skimmer, which collects card information and transmits the information by using bluetooth signal to a nearby laptop where one can ‘see’ the card information and store information for writing a duplicate ATM card.

Third is GSM skimmers it is the latest design and one can install it in one country and can receive the information in another country. A GSM skimmer uses GSM network and after capturing information sends it to a pre-programmed phone number by SMS. These devices are mostly used in developed countries.

To decrease the effectiveness of this technique, banks in developed countries are putting a picture or diagram on the face of their ATM machines that shows exactly what the card slot and key pad should look like, and advising customers to compare the machine with the diagram closely. The goal is to help cardholders spot signs of tampering so they can avoid being scammed and contact the bank or ATM issuer to have it repaired.

It is very important to inspect any ATM before inserting your card or entering your PIN to look for signs of skimmers. Card skimmers always place a piece of metal or plastic directly on the card slot. If you are using an unfamiliar ATM, check the card slot thoroughly to see if there is any extra piece is affixed on it. If you have used it before, just look for signs that the machine is different than the last time. A few other tips are if there is no blinking light visible on the card slot, or if one piece of the ATM front looks out of sync with the colour and design of the rest of the unit. Also, because your PIN is still required, if you cover the keypad completely with one hand while entering the PIN with the other, no camera will be able to record it. By following these simple guidelines and taking proactive steps, it is possible to spot ATM skimmers and keep personal data safe even while travelling the world over.

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