Why you should always pull on an ATM card slot before using it

Using an ATM in South Africa comes with many risks, which include card swapping criminals stealing your bank card and fraudsters stealing card information using skimming equipment.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) recently alerted people to an increase in criminals stealing bank cards and PINs after distracting ATM users.

A simple rule to avoid having your bank card stolen is to never let anyone assist you at an ATM and not to use an ATM if people are standing close to the machine.

“Be cautious of strangers offering to help, follow the instructions on the ATM screen carefully, and only punch in your PIN once prompted by the ATM,” said SABRIC.

Card skimming

A method employed by criminals is card skimming, where devices are used to copy card information on the magnetic strip.

These devices typically sit on top of the ATM card slot and are designed to blend in with the “look and feel” of ATMs – making them hard to detect.

This is why security expert Brian Krebs advises people to always tug on an ATM card slot before inserting their card.

“Once you understand how easy and common it is for thieves to attach skimming devices to ATMs, it’s difficult not to closely inspect and tug on the machines before using them,” said Krebs.

Gently pulling on the ATM card slot is enough to remove the card skimmer and reveal the real card slot under the skimming device.


ATM Card Skimming


The real ATM card slot is revealed below the card skimmer

Skimmer removed


The real ATM card slot is revealed below the card skimmer

ATM card skimming installation


Now read: Beware of these card skimming devices at ATMs

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Why you should always pull on an ATM card slot before using it