Skimming scams at ATM and gas pump keyboards

The Southern Ute Police Department has been made aware of a technology scam now hitting businesses in the Four Corners area. “Skimming” is a scam using fake keyboards, Wi-Fi and hidden cameras to capture your credit or debit card information from ATM machines, video rental machines, gas pumps and car washes. Any place a credit or debit card could be used is a target. Thieves have an online marketplace for your stolen bankcard information to be sold to the highest bidder. In minutes, your stolen data can be used at a bank or business hundreds of miles away.

The thieves steal your card information by copying a real card reader and gathering the information off the magnetic strip on the back of the card. Next, they gather the password or pin information by either duplicating a keyboard or recording the keyboard using a hidden camera.

These copycat parts look very similar to the real readers and keyboards but are made to be temporary for a few short hours before the thieves move on to their next target. The keypad may sound hollow or not work as well because thieves might glue the fake over the real one. There may be loose corners or visible wiring under the pad that would give away the fake. There could be a new trim piece directly over the keypad that would hold a very tiny camera and recording device. Use your hand to block anyone’s view of the keyboard when you enter your pin number.

Fake card readers have been found attached directly to the regular card reader or located just above the card reader so the fake device reads the same information as the regular device. Any device that duplicates reading the same card information twice is suspicious and should be avoided then reported to the business involved. Some bold thieves have even pried up keypads and attached equipment inside the machines. Be cautious of anything that is loose, crooked or damaged. If a machine doesn’t return the card, report it to your financial institution immediately.

Thieves have been caught when people reported suspicious equipment to their banks and businesses. Police departments have also become better at finding the fake technology while it is still attached to the real machines. If you have any suspicions, use a different machine. Machines inside supermarkets and business are somewhat safer since they are under constant surveillance from employees. Fuel pumps at the far end of a business and remotely located ATMs become easier targets for thieves and a higher risk to you.

Skimming is now everywhere in the country. When you travel, be extra careful how you use your bankcard in tourist areas. Thieves target areas where people are using unfamiliar machines. The Southern Ute Police Department would like you to stay safe and protect your hard earned money.


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