If you’ve ever been the victim of credit card or debit card fraud, you may wonder just how and where the scammers that got you managed to get your information.
I was a victim of credit card fraud myself a number of years ago. I was shocked when I found out (especially since whoever did it managed to spend 3x my credit limit), but I had an idea of where it might have happened. I took a trip to Pittsburgh with a couple friends to watch the Leafs take on the Penguins (they won, believe it or not). After the game, we went to a pizzeria not far from our hotel to get some dinner. I either didn’t bother to get any American cash or didn’t have any on me at the time so I used my credit card, but they took it out of my sight to swipe it… or whatever it is they did with it. I don’t know for sure, but that’s where I think my info was stolen. Thankfully the bank and VISA were very cool about it and I didn’t have to pay back the amount more than 3x my credit limit that was stolen, but it certainly made me kinda paranoid.
And apparently I was paranoid for good reason. Ben Tedesco, a cybersecurity expert with Black Carbon Security, was recently on vacation with his family in Austria when he stopped by an ATM to grab a little cash. Being an expert at cybersecurity, he has a routine he uses to check ATM’s, and this time it paid off as he discovered one that had been equipped with a skimmer.
And as he’s making the video, he stops someone else who’s about to use the machine beside the one he found the skimmer on. It was safe, but you can’t be too careful. It blows my mind how undetectable that would likely be to anyone who’s not trained to look for that kind of thing, although there are other hints to look for.
See, if a fraudster wants to take your banking information and put it to use, it’s a hell of a lot easier when you know the card’s corresponding PIN. That’s where a little pinhole camera comes into play. Illustrated with screenshots taken from that above video, you can see here the difference between the clean ATM (on the left) and the one that had the skimmer (on the right).
That’s why they always say to protect your PIN.
Here’s another look at essentially the same information:
Posted 5 days later on YouTube was THIS video, which appears to be the same place:
So if you’re ever using an ATM that you don’t really trust, just do a quick skim around, now knowing a couple basic things to look for. It could end up saving you tons of money. Remember – it pays to be paranoid! Well… Sometimes.