In today’s article, we will look at the activities of ATM card skimmers or the black-hat hackers on ATM PIN number and how to protect your PIN number from these sharp practices. In my last post, I pointed it out that ATM machine has become an integral part of our daily life; hence some of us cannot do without it.
However, one of the downsides of using an ATM card is the unethical activities of a group of people often known as card skimmers or the black-hat hackers by some people.(Yes, I call them black hackers cos they indulge in sharp practices that are declared by law to be illegal).
These groups of people has stolen countless of people’s cash by hacking into their credit card information and siphoning or transferring whatever amount or fund attached to the card to their own account. These card skimmers have adopted several means of skimming and ripping people off their hard-earned money, hence this post is aimed at ATM security. These methods can be classified into two categories.
(1) Offline Method.
(2) Online Method.
However, in this post, I will discuss the offline method first before the online method. This is because a lot of people make use of their ATM card almost on daily basis more than the online cash transaction.
THE OFFLINE METHOD
One of the many ways these card skimmers steal money is by having access to ATM card. And how would they have access to your card, you asked?…good question.
Well, the following are ways and devises these high profiled card skimmers have adopted to steal information from ATM cards.
INSTALLATION OF FALSE CARD READER:
This method involves installing a false looking card reader. They steal people’s money or get information they want by installing a false card reader on the main ATM machine so people can use theirs instead of the real bank card reader. This device records the PIN number and the card number too. This device is usually installed in the public places etc. I need not tell you what they’ll do with such sensitive information, you certainly know. However, this devise is usually rampant in advanced country where there are more techie guys.
INSTALLATION OF A SMALL CAMERA ON THE ATM MACHINE.
This is another clever means of stealing money from people’s ATM card. This type involves installing a small camera directly opposite the card reader so as to capture all the relevant information they want.
WATCHING YOU FROM BEHIND AS YOU KEY-IN THE NUMBER.
This usually happen when they stand behind you, pretending to have also come to make withdrawal. They’ll keep an eye on the buttons while you punch the PIN numbers. These guys are so smart that you won’t even know that they’ve taking note of the PIN number you typed. However, there are many ways to prevent these guys from hacking into your credit card information and stealing your hard-earned money. Read following ATM safety tips and advice below.
(1) Try as much as to be familiar with a particular ATM machine you use frequently so as to know when there’s a new installed device on it. If you notice any unusual and or a new device attached to it, leave such machine and use another or alternatively, inquire from the bank for clarification.
(2) Beware of any handbill holder that hangs directly opposite and facing the card reader, it could be a camera. Remember, if it looks too good to be a device, then it’s a camera.
(3) Always make use of ATM machine that are installed in a well-lit places so you can see if a new device is installed.
(4) Don’t leave your receipt at the machine. Take it, tear it and discard somewhere else.
(5) Don’t allow that nicely dressed gentleman with long-tie or that gorgeously dressed Beautiful girl to stand behind you whenever you are typing your ATM PIN number. He or she could be a potential skimmer or someone working for them. Save yourself of the agonies and pains by politely asking him/her to move away from you.
(6) Memorize your PIN and don’t write it anywhere. Some people and in the habit of writing their PIN number in their wallet, phone, or in their jotter/notebook. These set of people when asked replied that they wrote it there to avoid forgetting their PIN. This is totally bad and dangerous cos you can loose the wallet, phone, or the jotter someday and if it gets to these skimmers, your guess will definitely as good as mine.
(7) Don’t use your birth year or your social security number or any number that is openly associated with you as your PIN number. Always use hard-to-guess numbers. ATM PIN skimmers can guess your age and get a matching PIN. Always change your PIN number constantly. Changing it once in a while will save you from skimmers.
(8) Don’t disclose your PIN number to anybody, not even to your closest friend, bank staff or anybody requesting such info.
(9) Subscribe to bank alert so as to inform you whenever someone is tampering with your money. Bank alert at least alert you of any or debit transaction as soon as it’s carried out. This bank alert has saved a lot of people from skimmers. Make sure to know you bank customer care phone number in the event such a thing occurs.
(10) Do not punch you PIN number with only a finger. Use all your fingers; place both palms on top of the key button and punch your PIN number moving all your finger as this may confuse anybody watching you from behind.
In my future post, I will be discussing about the online method which the hackers/skimmers uses to steal or withdraw unauthorized fund from people’s account. So be sure to visit back to enjoy the post.
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