Stories of thieves setting up devices to "skim" bank customer data from ATM machines have been around for a while, which is all the more reason to be alert. A Gizmodo reader found himself face-to-face with one skimming set up at his Chase branch in the East Village.
Sean Seibel tried to insert his card into the ATM, but "When the machine told him it could not read his card, it took him a bit of jiggling to get his card back." After a few more failed attempts, "he inspected the slot of the current ATM he was using and realized that it had a false plastic cover attached to the slot." And the fake cover "matched the card reader slot perfectly, meaning that it was made specifically for Chase ATMs." That's right—ATM skimming is not just at bodegas.
After telling the Chase branch manager, Gizmodo reports that Seibel checked the vandalized ATM again and "found an extra mirror attached to the vandalized machine that the other ATMs didn't have. Drilled into the mirror was a tiny pinhole with a camera inside, directed at the PIN pad." See the gallery here.
Back in 2006, the NYPD gave the following tips: "Use a regular ATM so you know if something is out of the ordinary. If something is different, do not use it and ask the bank about the changes" and "Look out for any cameras that seem to focus on the card and not the faces of the user and simply beware of anything that looks unusual, such as odd looking equipment or wires attached to a device." The police also suggest checking to see whether there's Braille on the keypad (if there isn't, it might be a fake!). And some thieves try the "That ATM is not working scam."