How to spot a skimmer scanner at the ATM

Feel for protruding objects on card slot

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The rise of ATM skimmer scanners means that you have to be more aware. The small, circuit board devices are difficult to see- and only protrude slightly from the card slot.

Experts recommend that you look before you swipe. The scanners can be at ATMs, gas pumps, or anywhere else you insert your card. Thieves can by the skimmers online, or read how to build their own.

The devices read the magnetic strip to remotely access your card information. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a chip card, because while most point of sale machines allow for chip use, ATMs don’t. Companies are designing new ATMs that will scan your card without requiring you to insert it, but until that technology hits the market, your eyes are your best protection.

“If you see anything protruding out from where you put the card in, just fiddle around with it, if you can, and maybe it will knock off whatever is on there. There is also a chance that a camera could be velcroed to the top of the ATM,” said Chris Bovino, a systems engineer with Northeast IT in West Springfield.

Some other helpful advice: cover the keypad when you type your PIN, and check the pad itself to make sure a fake one has not been put over the real one. As always, be sure to report anything that looks out of the ordinary.