Card skimmers, in case you haven't heard the term, are tools that identity thieves attach to ATMs and gas station pumps in order to steal your credit card information and PIN.
The previous generation of card skimmers used to be visible if you looked hard enough, but the European ATM Security Team is reporting a new generation of almost-untraceable credit skimmer, and they've got the photos to prove it.
The skimmer runs on a $3 Energizer Lithium Coin battery and was discovered after the host ATM's alarm was triggered, meaning someone was tampering with the machine. There was no hidden camera footage captured - the crooks took that - so there's no telling who is installing the devices.
Photos from Krebs on Security.
The previous generation usually required a large part that went over the ATM's card reader slot. The latest skimmer actually fits into any everyday ATM's card-reading "throat."
The most dangerous aspect of next-gen card skimmers is that there's no visible difference between an unaltered card reader and one with a mini-skimmer attached.
Equally dangerous is that the U.S. is entirely vulnerable to this method of attack. The best way to stay safe until the U.S. finally tightens its card security is by using ATMs that are locked in a security foyer. Also:
- Be sure to cover the PIN pad when entering your PIN.
- Stay safe. Here are four places where you shouldn't be swiping your debit card.
- This ATM spits acid on identity thieves. Really. Click here to find out how it works.