5 Ways to Spot a Hacked ATM

Check for Hidden Cameras
Always cover the keypad when you input your pin number into the ATM machine.
Always cover the keypad when you input your pin number into the ATM machine.
Istockphoto.com/Penélope Cayero Migens

ATM skimmers typically consist of two parts: one that steals data from your card, and one that obtains your PIN number. In many cases, PIN numbers are recorded by hidden cameras placed above or near the keypad. When you arrive at an ATM, look around the machine. Are there any innocent-looking objects -- the kind of stuff you'd typically ignore without a thought -- placed a little too close to the machine? Spy cameras don't take up much space, and there are things all around us we pay no attention to that could easily hide an illicit recording device. For instance, a brochure holder near an ATM is perfect for hiding a camera [source: Krebs].

Anything close enough to get a good shot of the keypad could potentially hide a camera. Just take a quick look at anything near the ATM, but don't get too worried about someone eyeing your PIN. Thankfully, protecting yourself from these cameras is incredibly easy. Just remember to always use one hand to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN. Even better, use a wallet or checkbook -- just keep your PIN safe from prying eyes, be they human or electronic.

Sometimes ATM thieves go even further with their camera-hiding schemes, going so far as to camouflage their illicit add-on as part of the ATM itself. Go to the next page to find out more.

More to Explore