Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) is a reality today. People prefer to carry a card and withdraw money as and when needed rather than carry a lot of cash around. This gives greater liberty, convenience as well as safety to the individual concerned. But on the one hand this has given enhanced safety to the citizens but on the other it has bread a new type of crime in huge numbers – ATM Skimming. This today has become such a huge menace, the world over that it has sent alarm bells ringing through the entire security establishment. ATM skimming is done rather easily – a card reader device is mounted on the ATM card insertion slot. When a victim inserts his card in the slot, it first passes through the skimmer and then into the machine itself. While the card passes through the skimmer all the data on its magnetic strip is recorded by the skimmer. In addition the skimmer has a miniature camera attached to it which records the PIN number being entered by the victim. Once the victim completes the transaction and leaves the criminal retrieves the skimmer and attaches it to a computer. He then downloads the entire magnetic strip information onto his computer and then he prepares a “Cloned” card by reloading the victims’ information onto another card with a magnetic strip, an exact twin or replica of the victims’ card is ready. In addition he also sees the recorded video regarding the PIN number being entered. Now all he has to do is to head to another ATM (many times in a far flung city – to confuse the victim as to how money was withdrawn from a city so many hundreds of kilometers away) – and inserts the card in the machine, enters the PIN and withdraws as much money as he desires. The crime is complete and before the victim comes to know and blocks the card, a lot of hard earned cash is gone, mostly for ever!
The best way to battle this ATM Skimming menace is to each time follow a simple two step drill whenever we next visit an ATM. Firstly, always hold the slot for insertion of the card and shake it violently. If it is a skimmer it will detach from the Article by: Varun Kapoor, IPS – ADG Narcotics & PRTS Indore (MP) Page 2 machine and come loose, as it is not fixed on it but just mounted on it. Secondly, whenever one enters the PIN number – if one is entering the digits with the right hand, then the left should be used to make a physical shield over the right hand – so that the miniature camera is not able to pick up the key strokes being punched. This is the best, easiest and safest way to secure oneself from the horrendous crime called ATM Skimming.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of The Morung Express.