Very often the most clever component of your typical ATM skimming attack is the hidden pinhole camera used to record customers entering their PINs. These little video bandits can be hidden 100 different ways, but they’re frequently disguised as ATM security features — such as an extra PIN pad privacy cover, or an all-in-one skimmer over the green flashing card acceptance slot at the ATM.
And sometimes, the scammers just hijack the security camera built into the ATM itself.
Below is the hidden back-end of a skimmer found last month placed over top of the customer-facing security camera at a drive-up bank ATM in Hurst, Texas. The camera components (shown below in green and red) were angled toward the cash’s machine’s PIN pad to record victims entering their PINs. Wish I had a picture of this thing attached to the ATM.
The clever PIN grabber was paired with an “insert skimmer,” a wafer-thin, usually metallic and battery powered skimmer made to be fitted straight into the mouth of the ATM’s card acceptance slot, so that the card skimmer cannot be seen from outside of the compromised ATM.
For reference, here’s a similar card acceptance slot, minus the skimmer.
Police in Hurst, Texas released a photo taken from footage showing what appears to be a young woman affixing the camera skimmer to the drive-up ATM. They said she was driving a blue Ford Expedition with silver trim on the lower portion of the vehicle.
The skimmer crooks seem to realize that far fewer people are going to cover their hand when entering a PIN at drive-up ATMs. Often the machine is either too high or too low for the driver-side window, and covering the PIN pad to guard against hidden cameras can be a difficult reach for a lot of people.
Nevertheless, covering the PIN pad with a hand, wallet or purse while you enter the PIN is one of the easiest ways to block skimming attacks. The skimmer scammers don’t just want your bank card: They want your PIN so they can create an exact copy of the card and use it at another ATM to empty your checking or savings account.
So don’t be like the parade of people in these videos from hidden cameras at hacked ATMs who never once covered the PIN pad.
Further reading: Woman Caught on Video Installing Skimmer Outside Bank’s ATM in Hurst