You should feel lucky if you still have no idea what ATM skimmers are. Even though they aren’t ubiquitous, thieves can find them in almost every ATM they try to break into.
Portland is just as likely as any other city in America to have this kind of trouble. But this one was found in a 7-Eleven in the Hawthorne neighborhood. As you can see in the photos, the skimmer is made of the same green plastic as the real ATM, so you can’t tell what’s going on just by looking at it.
On the back of the skimmer is a small circuit relay that takes card information and either stores it for later use or, more likely, send it in real-time over 5G.
This should be an apparent warning to people who get money out of machines often. Since a store manager might not know their device is being tampered with, it would be hard to tell if someone will use it for 30 seconds during their lunch break.
Here are some ways to spot ATM skimmers and avoid them:
- Inspect the ATM before using it: Before inserting your card, look closely at the card slot, keypad, and other areas where you enter your personal information. If anything looks unusual, such as a loose or protruding part, or a misaligned keypad, it could be a sign that a skimming device has been installed.
- Cover your PIN: When entering your PIN, use your hand or a piece of paper to cover the keypad so no one can see what you’re typing. This can help protect your PIN from being stolen by hidden cameras or other surveillance devices.
- Use ATMs in well-lit areas: ATMs in dimly lit or secluded areas are more likely to be targeted by criminals. Try to use ATMs located in well-lit, high-traffic areas with less risk of being targeted by skimmers.
Choose ATMs that are protected by security cameras: ATMs monitored by security cameras are less likely to be targeted by criminals because they are more likely to be caught in the act.
- Monitor your accounts regularly: Keep an eye on your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly to ensure no unauthorized transactions. Contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately if you notice any suspicious activity.