How They Steal Your ATM Card

@joseph_v (212)
January 3, 2007 9:46am CST
Maybe my parents were right in refusing to get an ATM card for close to a decade. ATM fraud is the latest craze (I've written about ATM scams previously) in petty theft. Despite the security cameras, thieves seem to be targeting ATMs in record numbers, probably because the end result—cold, hard cash—is impossible to trace (unlike a stolen credit card) and loses none of its value when liquidated (unlike your Barry Manilow record collection). The last scam I wrote about used an MP3 player to record bank account numbers and PIN codes. This scam, which seems much more commonplace, is far less high-tech. But rather than explaining at length, take a look at this series of security cam pictures, to see how a thief does the job. In a nutshell: He inserts a sliver of film into the slot, which traps your card when you insert it. Once it's stuck, he asks if you need help, gets you to give up your PIN code, and snags the card after you've left the machine, having given up hope. These little pieces of film are known as "Lebanese Loops." The Lebanese Loop is actually a pretty crude method for stealing cards. I linked to it in the prior post, but I'll link to it again, just because the warning bears repeating: Thieves can craft clever pieces of equipment that look just like the ATM they're targeting and mount them right on the front of the bank machine. Check out this series of photos from my old alma mater, which includes a device to copy your card and photograph you while you enter your PIN code, leaving you none the wiser. Bottom line: If you see anything that looks out of place on an ATM you're using, don't insert your card into it, and inform your bank (or the establishment you're in) immediately. Be safe out there! HOW IS THIS ARTICLE
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