Thieves Are Using Tiny Cameras To Steal Your Information At The ATM

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Getty Images | Chris Hondros

Anyone using an ATM has to be more vigilant than ever. Users are constantly warned about the threat of “skimmers,” devices used by thieves to get your credit or debit card information. Safeguarding yourself, however, just got harder.

The latest devices popping up on ATMs around the world are quite literally hidden behind a tiny pinhole. Thieves are not only getting your debit card number, but also your pin. Behind the pinhole is a camera recording your pin as you enter it (can you say doomed?).

Check out these posts from the police department in Laurel, Maryland’s. According to officers, a skimming device and pinhole camera were recently found at a 7-Eleven. The skimmer steals the debit card number, while the camera rolls on victims keying in their pin numbers.

The first image shows the ATM as you would see it.

The second shows officers removing the device with a hidden camera inside.

This two-part scheme is also popping up in all five boroughs in New York City. Both devices, by the way, can be installed in just a few minutes.

This problem is not specific to the United States. The City of London Police shared what they found on an ATM. You can barely spot the tiny hole, but sure enough, police found a camera lodged in the machine.

They suggest always covering your pin with your hand when withdrawing money.

How To Protect Your Accounts

Earlier this year, FICO Card Alert Services reported a whopping 70 percent increase in the number of debit cards compromised in 2016. It’s not just ATMs to worry about. People must be extra cautious at gas stations as well. Since thieves are getting more sophisticated, the general public needs to stay well informed to be ahead of the game.

1. To best protect yourself against these newer cameras, use your other hand to cover the keypad.

2. If all the ATMs are broken or “out of order” except for one, criminals might have had a hand in that. They may be forcing you to use the one ATM with a skimmer installed.

3. Avoid using ATMs in poorly-lit areas with little traffic.

4. Always check for signs of tampering. If any part of the machine seems loose or out of place, don’t use that particular machine. Also check for signs of an adhesive, scratches or crooked pieces.

The Laurel Police Department told WJLA in a press release that the device they found was discovered by a citizen wisely checking for tampering before he inserted his card. Keep an eye out, then alert authorities to help prevent other people from getting scammed too.

Getty Images | Jeff J Mitchell

About the Author

Emily Hanford-Ostmann

I have a background in newspaper and broadcast news writing. When I'm not informing others about what's happening in town...I enjoy running, a great workout class and finding my next favorite show on Netflix. I also find great joy in clearance shopping. More.

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