Attack of the skimmers: ATM fraud on the rise?


Consumerist reports that within the space of a few days, three readers across the country have spotted "skimmers" grafted onto the card slots of their local ATMs for WaMu and Chase banks. Are these devices on the rise?

Skimmers, in case the term is new to you, are teeny electronic devices that can be assimilated into the card slot so that when customers insert or drag their ATM cards to make transactions, their account details can be stored or transmitted to a third party, which can use the information to clean out your savings. Think of it as a form of piracy for your account numbers, except you walk away with your card, none the wiser.

Last week, a Consumerist reader kicked off the sleuthing by finding one at a WaMu branch at which the machine didn't feel quite right. A Gizmodo reader found one in New York City's East Village, and after reading that item, a blogger named Nick McGlynn found one at the first bank he passed, too. In the last two cases, the presence of the skimmer was given away by a tell-tale mirror that concealed a pinhole camera that could record customers' PINs as they were entered in the keypad.