While on vacation with his family in Austria, one man proved that it pays to be paranoid.
Looking for a place to take out some cash, American Benjamin Tedesco spotted an ATM near the popular St. Steven's cathedral in Vienna. Instead of simply swiping his card to begin the process, he investigated the machine before doing so, spotting some unusually placed glue on the card reader.
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Upon further detective work, Tedesco (who also happens to be a security consultant), noticed that the replica reader was able to be stripped from the machine's surface with the help of a little tugging.
According to Tedesco, the faux readers, often called "ATM skimmers," are popular ways for scammers to find and steal customers' credit card information and use it for fraudulent activity.
So how do the skimmers work exactly? He explains in depth on his LinkedIn page, stating, "You will notice that in addition to the magnetic strip reader, it has a battery (the large silver object on the right) some sort of switch (the small silver object in the middle with the small black tab sticking out of it) and of course the control board with the 4 pin connector (the large green board to the left)."
It is through the 4-pin connector that your information is then released into the thieves possession.
Tedesco has since notified the Vienna Police Department regarding the discovery, but he warns others to be on the lookout for similar replicas, which in his opinion, could be placed anywhere.