Suspicious Things to Look For in Tampered ATM Machines


With the recent changes to credit and debit cards and the required EMV chip, thieves are looking for new ways to commit credit and debit card fraud since it is difficult to duplicate the information contained in the actual EMV chip. As a result, ATM machines are once again under attack, as they still pose certain vulnerabilities which are possible to be hacked.

The next time you are walking up to an ATM machine to perform a banking transaction, take the time to inspect the machine for potential signs of tampering. There are several things thieves will do depending upon the location of the machine. If you can spot these, you will reduce the risks of your information being obtained and your bank account emptied or your credit card maxed out.

  1. Location, Location, Location – ATMs in shopping malls, restaurants, retail centers, transportation hubs, and other public areas are more at risk of being tampered with, compared to the ATM found inside your local credit union or bank.
  2. Lighting – If the area around the machine itself is poorly lit, or you notice it looks like the lights on the machine are not working, do not use the machine. It is very probable that tampering has occurred.
  3. The Card Slot Looks Funny – Thieves will install card skimmers over the existing card slots. If arrows do not line up or it feels loose, do not insert your card. If it was tight fitting when you put the card in, cancel the transaction, as it could be a skimmer.
  4. The Pin Pad Is Loose – Some thieves install another pin pad over the existing one. Pull at the pin pad and see if it is loose or if the buttons seem like they are much harder to press. This could indicate a fake pin pad that is collecting pin numbers when they are entered.
  5. Hidden Cameras – Thieves can also hide cameras on different areas of the ATM machine so they have a good view of the pin pad. Look and feel along the upper part and sides of the machines for anything that sticks out or which looks like a camera. The cameras on ATM machines are internal and do not stick out of the machine.
  6. Loosely Fitting ATM Covers – Some thieves will install a fake cover over the facing on ATM machines. If the cover looks like it does not line up correctly, or it feels flimsy and loose, do not use that ATM.

It is okay to push, pull, feel, and prod ATM machines before using them. The machines are solidly constructed, so keypads, frames, and card slots should not feel loose or look like they are falling off the machine. If you spot a machine that looks suspicious, report it to the machine owner or police immediately. If you believe your card information was stolen, contact your bank or credit union. Call them right away!

For all of your banking and financial needs, contact The People’s Federal Credit Union at 806-359-8571 today.

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