One of the more successful tools of 21st-century crooks is the skimmer. Thieves attach them to ATMs, gas pumps and other places people swipe their credit and debit cards in order to steal information from your cards.
These skimmers are small, hard to spot and can send you into financial ruin, not to mention all the headaches that come along with having your information stolen and trying to recover your accounts.
And as if ATM skimmers weren't scary enough, the Secret Service issued an alarming warning that ATM skimmers are reaching new levels, making them scarier and more threatening than ever.
The new wave of skimmers is known as "periscope skimmers" and they're almost impossible to detect unless you pull open the entire machine and know exactly what to look for.
Periscope skimmers are inserted into ATMs with a wire and are installed directly onto the ATMs circuit board. They have the ability to stay on and steal information for 14 days and can store up to 32,000 card numbers.
It's also important to note that periscope skimmers don't have cameras, which are often used in skimmers to steal PIN numbers. This means the periscope skimmers are just prototypes, which will get bigger and worse as time goes on. As security researcher Brian Krebs puts it, "the thieves responsible are in the process of refining their technology."
Only two periscope skimmers have been found so far - one in Connecticut and one in Pennsylvania, but it's most likely a matter of time until we see more pop up.
In the meantime, use the tips in this flash tip below to learn how to avoid credit and debit card skimmers.