Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Do You Use A Debit or Credit Card? Watch This.

The other day I received a call. The person had read about a skimmer being found at a Lucky store they shop at, and they wanted to know how they could “spot” a skimmer. (See Lucky Supermarket Chain Reveals Scope Of Card Reader Scam)

Well.. um.. I wish I had an easy answer.

What I do have is 3 videos. The first is in German, but what I want you look at is the “skimmer” devices, used on ATM machines.. could you “spot” one of those?

It doesn’t just happen in Europe.. here’s a RL story..

And, it’s worse than that. Here’s a Bob Sullivan report on “pocket skimmers”.. like the ones your waiter/waitress might have..

So.. I haven’t even touched upon (wireless) RFID skimmers, or even begun to paint the picture as black as it is. Yippee.
What can you do to protect yourself? Do you need to scratch at keypads, and try to pop off faceplates before you use an ATM..? Wrap your wallet in tinfoil, too?

Well.. I don’t know. I guess that’s up to you. But, if your bank allows you to set “activity notifications”, I would activate it, and set it to 1¢. It won’t stop the ID Thief, but you may be able to act fast, and notify the bank before your account is completely emptied…………
Perhaps hire a “credit monitoring service”, or otherwise routinely, frequently, check your credit report as well? (Hint)

I have an idea. Why don’t we do away with currency altogether. Just (only) use chips or cards! It’s so convenient, and think of the money the government will save if it doesn’t have to print bills.

… arrrgh.

Today’s quote:If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” ~ Unknown

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 25, 2012 - Posted by | advice, cyber crime, News | , , , , , , ,


  1. As you have said before..”We live in interesting times.”

    This is not the only reason but it is one of them..People don’t do random acts of kindness. You go to help someone that has dropped their packages and their partner swipes your wallet…If you get involved, sometimes it doesn’t pay. Now all they have to do is get close enough to you and they can get a record of your CC cards etc.


    Comment by delenn13 | January 25, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      I kinda wish you hadn’t pointed out those ugly facts.. as part of me wants to add to them: crazy lawsuits/jury awards, i.e..

      Yes, I urge “paranoid common sense”, and write in an effort to reduce public naivety. Beware! They are out to get you!
      But, I cannot condone not “doing Right” simply due to the chance the person might be part of a pickpocket team. (Yes, con men and crooks play on our good natures and *innocent* thinking.)
      But – that’s me.

      Each can choose their own path.


      Comment by techpaul | January 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. delenn13
    The interesting times we live in…consists of both good and bad!

    While there’s difficult, challenging times out there for us to trod through… (especially with the (New World Order in play; making it more difficult in many ways); but there’s also some good, strong energy floating around; bringing people together in a way of “higher consciousness”;which consists of many good things.

    The fact that the Random Acts Of Kindness took off so rapidly and became International Organizations …says it for me…there’s still lots of good in the world.”


    Comment by Gaia | January 25, 2012 | Reply

    • I know there is good out there…you just have to look for it.


      Comment by delenn13 | January 25, 2012 | Reply

  3. TechPaul,

    Here in our little metropolis where I live we just had a skimmer found at a bank ATM. In this case, a local Police Officer spotted it.

    Very worrisome times we live in…



    Comment by Ramblinrick | January 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Rick,
      You mean.. this doesn’t only happen in The Big City? No!

      And.. I hope the department made a big fuss over the Officer.. and gave them some sort of Merit Badge and Bonus (to encourage such alertness in other Officers). They certainly get a tip of my hat.


      Comment by techpaul | January 25, 2012 | Reply

  4. What exactly did he see that told him there was a skimmer on the atm? Is there something we can look for before sticking our card in the slot?


    Comment by silkcentral | January 28, 2012 | Reply

    • silkcentral,
      I guess my writing was not as clear as I hoped..

      If I could tell you exactly what to look for, I would have. I have no idea, and I doubt it was reported, exactly what it was the Officer mentioned noticed that gave the skimmer away.

      As you can see from the videos, these ATM skimmers are often ‘form fitted’, and the electronics hidden inside. You can try looking for pinhole cameras above you, and you can pick at the card slots to see if something pops loose.. but the whole point of this – the average person has almost no chance of noticing.. until they receive a call from their bank’s fraud squad asking if they purchased tires in Nome, Alaska..


      Comment by techpaul | January 28, 2012 | Reply

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