ATM Scammers’ New Tactic: Glue

You can almost hear the scammers’ “Eureka!” moment in their evil dungeon lair: “We don’t need no stinking $5000 high-tech remote access Russian-built skimmer – we just need Elmer’s!” And then a crime is committed and history is made.

The San Francisco Examiner reported, “thieves glued down the ‘enter,’ ‘cancel’ and ‘clear’ buttons on the keypad and wait until the customer goes into the bank for help before withdrawing money from their account. The robbed customers have already punched in their PINs when they realize the keypad buttons are stuck. The unwitting customers either do not know that they can use the ATM touch screen to finish their transaction, or become nervous when the keypad isn’t working and react by leaving the ATM.”

Once the customer has gone into the bank to alert a manager or teller, the scammer walks up to the ATM and uses the touch screen to complete the transaction.

Amazing. Even more amazing is that if a criminal were caught gluing ATM keys, he would most likely only receive a misdemeanor vandalism charge, as opposed to a larceny, which would put him in jail. The law has yet to catch up with this new and brilliantly simple crime.

So if you happen upon a glued ATM remember that you can finish your transaction using the touch screen. Once you’ve done so, alert the bank manager as soon as possible so nobody else gets scammed!

When using an ATM, pay close attention to the machine and be alert for anything that seems out of place. Wires, double sided tape, odd configurations or skimming devices on the face of the ATM, or a card that gets stuck in the reader are all red flags.

Don’t necessarily use the first ATM you see. Choose ATMs in secure locations, and be on your guard, even when using an ATM at a bank branch.

Above all, check your bank statements at least once every two weeks, and refute unauthorized transactions within 30 days.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing ATM skimming on Extra TV. Disclosures.

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