Published on August 16th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


Ways To Check for ATM Skimmers

How do you actually visit and transact from an ATM? You probably insert the card in the slot, put in your PIN, take the money and walk away. Simple! That’s what most people do. You are not alone! But has it ever crossed your mind that your favorite ATM could be having a skimmer?

What is a skimmer? That word is probably even new to your vocabulary. The fact that it’s now even used to relate to an ATM makes it even more ambiguous!

An ATM skimmer is a card reader other than the one attached to the primary ATM. Once you swipe your ATM card and put in your PIN, the skimmer will steal your details. The information will then be used by criminals to drain money from your account.

You may not know at a glance that there’s a skimmer because it has the same color as the ATM’s original card reader. By now you’re probably wondering, how you’d be able to differentiate a skimmer from the original card reader. Don’t fret, below are a few tips.

3 Tips To Help Differentiate A Skimmer From The Original Card Reader

1. Examine the ATM card reader

The original card reader is firmly attached to the ATM. A fake card reader is usually placed on the original atm parts that read your details. It has the same color as the main one, only that it is not sturdily fixed. Look for anything unusual. It could indicate that some tampering has taken place. To be very sure, check if there’re some glue marks anywhere around the reader.

Also, find out if the reader has some tape hanging under it. Check if there are some plastic pieces around the reader that could reveal the possibility of a fake reader. Avoid looking suspicious. You never know! The next person in the queue could be the criminal and can harm you if you raise the alarm. Walk or drive to the bank or to the nearest police station.

2. Look for hidden cameras

If you’re keen, you’d see cameras attached to the machine. They read your PIN. Check for a small pinhole on the ATM. Such a thing could be a camera hidden by criminals to read your PIN and other details. Look for a mug, a book, or anything sitting across from the ATM.

Move such objects to see if they are hiding a camera. ATM cameras are a bit large and noticeable. The bank ensures that you can see them. The cameras for the skimmer are small and hidden.

3. Look for a plastic piece at the top of the ATM

A plastic piece is a rectangular shaped item and glued on the ATM. It contains small equipment to read details of your ATM card. The skimmers can attach it to the ATM’s light or other ATM parts. Ensure that there’s nothing connected to the ATM’s light. Moreover, if you’re suspicious of any object, wiggle it with your hand. If it moves, then it’s a skimmer.


There are many signs that can help you identify a skimmer. So the next time you get to the ATM, don’t be in a hurry. Check the indications mentioned above and report any strange observation. Also, avoid looking suspicious. Such an act can cost you your life. You must instead report to the relevant authorities.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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