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How does skimming work and how to protect your money?

Skimming. What is and what schemes exist. How to protect yourself from skimming

October 20, 2020

Skimming. What is and what schemes exist. How to protect yourself from skimming.

Skimming - installation of fraudulent equipment on an ATM, in order to read and write bank card data, for further production of its copy, the so-called "white plastic". Visually, “white plastic” differs from a real bank payment card by the absence of the classic symbols of recognition of the issuing bank and the corresponding payment system.

Skimming is a common type of banking fraud that aims to steal data from credit cards using special devices attached to the body of an ATM. These devices read data from payment cards in the course of transactions, which allows you to create a special clone that can be used for payments in various retail outlets, including online. Among the features - the owner of the original card will almost never be able to prove that his card data was copied.

How the device can be used

The skimmer itself is represented by a small device that allows you to read data from a card, which is recorded on a magnetic tape. Attached to the hole-receiver and keypad for PIN code dialing. Consists of the following components:

  • a magnetic head that reads and copies data from the magnetic tape of the credit card;
  • a small converter, storing the received data in a separate digital code;
  • a drive that writes the received code to a separate storage medium;
  • a small video camera hidden from observers, which records the entered PIN code;
  • an overlay keyboard, which is mounted on a stationary one and is used to transfer the code to a separate server.

All skimmer components are full copies of original ATM components and are used as overlays. They are made individually for each individual ATM, depending on the branch of the bank.

Data can be accumulated or transmitted wirelessly.

Who can fall victim and how to avoid it

Any user who decides to cash out their funds from a bank card can be caught by scammers. The information received will be used to create a copy of the card and spend in stores. Attackers will also learn a PIN code that will allow them to withdraw cash from the victim's account.

To protect ATMs from the use of such devices, banking organizations use various overlays that emit electromagnetic waves and prevent illegal data transfer.

Even so, it is recommended to carefully examine the ATM before you insert the card into the receiver. Pay special attention to the receiver, keyboard and additional cameras on the device. It is on them that additional false panels are installed, with built-in sensors for data transmission.

Additionally, it is recommended to use ATMs only from trusted companies that are located in crowded places and are often checked by collectors for the presence of malicious devices. Also try to withdraw funds at the cash desks of banks or ATMs installed inside a banking institution. Fraudsters simply cannot install their equipment in such places.

Try also to connect notifications about ongoing transactions, which will help you, if necessary, track the expenses that were not made by you. These small guidelines will help you save your money. At the first suspicion of the theft of funds from the card, it is recommended to contact the bank and block the card, reissue it. The bank will block all data and fraudsters will not be able to use your card.