[Tutorial] How To Protect Your ATM Card

Earlier we reported that hackers had got cash out of ATM machines using infected USBs. We also reported that many intelligent thieves had stolen credit card info from NYC subway using tiny cameras. On the other side, there are a lot of tiny devices that are almost impossible to detect but can steal credit card data. However, if such scenarios, by any chance, lead you worrying about the hack of your ATM card, then this article is absolutely for you. Lets see how to protect ATM cards from being hacked.

Protect ATM Card

Before proceed, lets know what is ATM skimmer and how does it work? Well an ATM skimmer is a malicious device criminals attach to an ATM. When people insert an ATM card inside an ATM machine that’s been compromised, the skimmer creates a copy of that card. On the other hand, a tiny camera which is kept at such a place from where it can capture the keypad. So when a user enters his/her PIN number, the camera captures it. In this way, credit/debit/ATM card can be hacked.

How To Spot ATM Skimmers

As it is said that “prevention is better than cure,” here are some tricks for spotting ATM skimmers.

  • Jiggle the Card Reader: If the card reader moves around when you try to jiggle it with your hand, something probably isn’t right. A real card reader should be attached to the ATM so well that it won’t move around — a skimmer overlaid over the card reader may move around.
  • Look at the ATM Machine: Take a quick look at the ATM machine. Does anything look a bit out-of-place? Perhaps the bottom panel is a different color from the rest of the machine because it’s a fake piece of plastic placed over the real bottom panel and the keypad. Perhaps there’s an odd-looking object that contains a camera.
  • Examine the Keypad: Does the keypad look a bit too thick, or different from how it usually looks if you’ve used the machine before? It may be an overlay over the real keypad.
  • Check for Cameras: Consider where an attacker might hide a camera — somewhere above the screen or keypad, or even in the brochure holder on the machine.

If you find something seriously wrong — a card reader that moves, a hidden camera, or a keypad overlay — be sure to alert the bank or business in charge of the ATM. If something just doesn’t seem right with the machine, it’s better you go and find another ATM machine.

Some Basic Security Precautions

Here’s what you should always do to protect yourself when using any ATM machine:

  • Shield Your PIN With Your Hand: When you type your PIN into an ATM machine, shield the PIN pad with your hand. Yes, this won’t protect you against the most sophisticated skimmers that use keypad overlays, but you’re much more likely to run into an ATM skimmer that uses a camera — they’re much cheaper for criminals to purchase. This is the number one tip you can use to protect yourself.
  • Monitor Your Bank Account Transactions: You should regularly check your bank accounts and credit card accounts online. Check for suspicious transactions and notify your bank as quickly as possible. You want to catch these problems as soon as possible — don’t wait until your bank mails you a printed statement a month after money has been withdrawn from your account by a criminal.
  • Tools like Mint.com — or an alert system your bank might offer — can also help here, notifying you when unusual transactions take place.

Courtesy: How To Geek

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