Unfortunately, fraud is something we all need to be on the lookout for, both at home and abroad. From email phishing scams to fraudulent phone calls, people really need to be on their toes. When you’re traveling and even here at home, you also have to be careful to avoid credit card skimmers. In the last few months, both California and New York police have issued warnings to the public. According to KTLA, “The Garden Grove Police Department arrested two men who were installing a credit card skimming device on a bank ATM last week, and now police are warning the public to look out for signs that a credit card reader may be compromised by thieves.”

Garden Grove is a city in northern Orange County, California and on Instagram, the Garden Grove Police Department shared some tips to help protect the unsuspecting public and also showed what the installed credit card skimmer looks like (scroll through all three images):

The Garden Grove Police Department says: Because these types of crimes are on the rise, here are some tips to lower your chances of becoming a victim, when using an ATM:

• Be aware of your surroundings, and (people) shoulder surfing.
• Don’t say your pin out loud, some skimming devices can audio record.
• Use one hand to cover the other hand, when you enter your pin, to obscure camera recording.

Earlier this year, officers from the NYPD 121st Precinct talked to local bank customers about protecting their money and detecting ATM skimming. They shared similar tips in the tweet below:

This is great advice and a good reminder for all of us. If your credit or debit card is scanned by a skimmer, the card’s information will be collected and used for fraudulent purchases later. It’s definitely a headache and potentially a nightmare so being savvy and knowing how to spot credit card skimmers is critical. GOOD TO KNOW: You can avoid foreign transaction fees with this popular travel rewards card.

Both examples above pertain to credit card skimmers in the U.S. but you have to be careful when you travel, as well. Ben Tedesco, who works for a security software company, was on vacation with his family in Vienna, Austria, when he spotted a credit card skimmer. Check out the video below, where he shows exactly what the skimmer looks like:

YouTube video

I’ve heard about skimmers being placed inside of ATM readers (see this story about Mexico’s ATM problems), but I didn’t know they could take the form of covers as in the video above. As you can see, checking the ATM’s card reader paid off for Ben. Going forward, I’ll be double checking and continuing to cover my password with my hand just in case anyone (or a camera) is watching. It’s also a good idea to use an ATM machine inside a major bank instead of a random one.


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20 Comments On "Bet You Don't Know What an ATM Card Skimmer Looks Like"
  1. Anonymous|

    Thank you

  2. TakaTaka|

    that’s just so scary! Thanks for the knowledge Don’t they have a CCTV by the ATM?

  3. Jai|

    Thanks for posting. This is valuable info everyone needs.

  4. jackie|

    Thank you tons for sharing this useful tip, I’ve shared it with my audience

  5. Sheryl|

    I shared this post and now it keeps reposting over and over. Please tell me how to stop it!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I’m not sure what you mean?

  6. Kathy Jones|

    I heard you talking about ATM skimmers with Leo last weekend. It was the first time I had heard the term. Thanks so much for sharing this video, which aptly illustrates just what the little devils look like and how they are designed to blend right in with the ATM.

  7. Cal|

    For him to start filming BEFORE he even got to the atm makes me think he was the one who put it there, then tried to be the hero by warning everyone what he “found”

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I’m pretty sure he spotted it and then stepped back to do an intro

  8. Nathan|

    Now that is shocking! Never seen one of those before, makes you think before you place your card into a machine nowadays.

  9. Kirreck Williams|

    Thanks! This is a huge tip. Traveling to Brazil for World Cup 2014, authorities put out travel advisories to not exchange at ATMs in airports and on the street that wasn’t located in a bank, skimmers had installed these all over. I did not know what one looked like.

  10. Char|

    I recently fell victim to the exact model green skimmer at Bank of America just outside the American Express Tower. I withdrew $ and then seconds later BOA shut my card down and texted me an alert that I had been skimmed. So the thing is, it looked “loose” and a little suspect to me, but I dipped my card in anyway. Why? Because its the freaking banking center of the free world, nestled in between BOA, Merrill and Goldman Sachs. It’s next to ground zero. There’s more security in this area than anywhere in the world. Eye in the sky cameras EVERYWHERE….There was literally a security guard manning the ATM I dipped. Still got skimmed. NOTHING is safe.

  11. Imad Nohad|

    Thanks for this very valuable heads up. Standard procedure from now on is to check the ATM before inputting the card. Again thanks a lot.

  12. John|

    Useful information for preparing an absolutely safe travel. Thanks

  13. Mike C|

    Banks should be checking their ATMs at least 3x a day for these – where location is at a bank. Other ATMs at least every time cash is put into the machine. And maybe at those non bank locations, the business there should check also.

    1. Johnny Jet|


  14. Jane Long|

    I had seen samples of skimmers before which fit inside the card slot, but I had never seen one like this before. Thanks for posting this valuable information.

  15. Gayle|

    If there are cameras on ATM machines how does these things get installed without anyone knowing it??

  16. Gayle|

    Thank you! I don’t use ATMs haven’t in years good info I passed on.

  17. Michelle|

    We were skimmed on Christmas Day at a manned Safeway gas station in Seattle. We were driving home to Oregon to beat a monster snowstorm. Had to fuel up for a 4 hour drive. Nothing looked out of order. Later we found out someone had a very good holiday indeed- the car number was bought or given or the scammer himself based in California, had bought a $4K Mac computer, had sushi delivered and next day had some other food delivered to their California house. Why this was not an easily solved crime I will never know but CC companies just write it off. We had to get new cards and go through all those auto pay accounts etc. Merry Christmas!

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