Cashpoint scam: Be the first to spot & avoid it

Cashpoint scam spotting & avoiding

Cashpoints or cash machines point out the most straightforward way, every single day, for folk to obtain their money physically. Most withdrawals are crime-free. However, the Devil never sleeps. Enterprising scammers with burglar’s guts keep their eagle eye out for your wealth. A cash machine/ATM/cash point scam is always a probability, given that you cannot expect scammers to give up trying. Also, there’s only so much going on as far as the ATM tech and design rate goes. It will be a long time before R&D at cashpoint designing labs come up with variants that are genuinely scammer-immune. Till then, “Cashpoint scam: spotting & avoiding” is a theme that must engage your mind more than cursorily. 

Scrutinizing the card slot and fascia

Always gravitate towards a cash machine that is attached to a reputable institution. Keep your eyes peeled for tampering signs on the boy of the machine. Scammers can easily use skimming devices to get ahold of your personal information. If you espy a skimming device on the body of the cashpoint, be sure to let the relevant bank staff know. Barring this, there’s always the Police who would appreciate some citizens keeping their peepers open. 

Do not try to remove any extraneous device attached to the ATM since the Police would wish to examine it. 

Be alert at the cashpoint. 

While you are at a cashpoint, stay vigilant continually. Be aware of your personal space. Be alert to the possibility of folk immediately behind you.

In case someone is skulking around the cashpoint, simply move on to the next cash machine. You wouldn’t want nosy Parkers to be scooping up your details.

Consciously shield the keypad when tapping in your details – especially your should know if someone is trying shoulder surfing at your expense. Your login details should not become public property.   

Any small talk during withdrawals is a definite ‘no-no’. You do not want to be distracted when at the cashpoint. Be aware that your card and cash are within your range of vision throughout the time of transaction. 

The PIN has to be kept secure always. 

Even though there’s no one around, you still need to stand sentinel over your account security, especially at cash points or cash machines/ATMs. It is advised that you stand close to the machine to shield the keypad as you type your PIN in. 

Cashpoint scammers have been known to plant pinhole cameras on the machine’s body, solely with data capture in mind. Additionally, scammers can place cameras in different locations on the ATMs body. These are frequently hidden by plastic panels that look akin to parts of the machine. It becomes this way possible to capture the card number, the date of expiration, the name on the card, and the three-digit card verification value (CVV)number. 

Post transduction completion, put both your cash and card away. Do not draw attention to yourself. And do not leave either card or cash behind as you leave the cashpoint. 

Cashpoints inside banks are the safest. 

It would do well at this point for us to reiterate that cash points inside bank premises, or right cheek-by-jowl with such buildings, are the most secure. Here, you should be able to let your hair down, relatively. However, since your habit of vigilance will have become ingrained by this time, checking for skinning or suchlike ought not to strain you unnaturally. 

Cashpoints nowhere near banks 

There could be cashpoints that are just there as cash dispensers. All your vigilance prowess will be put to the test jhere. Don’t depend wholly on security cameras alone. While those are deterrents, still scammers have been known to hoodwink cameras. Else how do skimmers get their place on the coveted cashpoints?

Spotting ATM skimmers 

Some banks do invest in technology to monitor ATMs for possible placement of skimming devices. Moreover, to ensure the card is safe whilst using an ATM terminal , there’s every reason you ought to be able to avoid ATM skimmers. 

What does skimming stand for?

A skimmer is a card reader masquerading as an integrated part of an ATM. The skimmer attachment gathers PIN codes and card numbers. These are then replicated onto ersatz cards. The fraud type skimming takes place when a skimmer compromises an ATM.

The act of sliding down your card into an ATM that, unbeknownst to you, has a skimmer attached, implies that you invariably alaso slide the card through the counterfeit reader. The latter scans and stores all your data from the magnetic stripe, besides capturing your PIN from the keypad, this is arguably the worst of all possible card scams. The data so gathered can easily be used to make ATM withdrawals. 

On the lookout for skimmers 

The most frequent skimming methods are employed on the card reader insert area. Therefore, prior to using an ATM, be careful to take in the following ATM parts : PIN keypad; Card insert slot. 

While a normal ATM card insert lot looks sleek and unobtrusive, a skimmer, which has to be placed over the card reader, looks bulky. 

Cashpoint check-list: 

  1. Sticky glue residue/tape on any portion of the ATM;
  2.  Bulk on the card insert area – the keypad can be fabricated, too, and the false version tends likewise to bulkiness; 
  3. Anything dangling from the ATM; 
  4. Loose-fitting attachments on the keypad/card slot. 

Some hard-working cashpoint scammers might be so contrived that a pinhole camera might dangle just above the keypad. There would almost always be a tell-tale light over the keypad. This camera is, however a handy disguise for any cashpoint machine anywhere. It can be set up and remain unobtrusive while it snaps away PINs. The tell-tale light shining from the camera is seen by those who are looking for it. As always, the price of security is vigilance.

Per a recent study, thermal cameras also capture PINs simply by pointing out which number keys are warmed up a tad bit, having been pressed. Moreover, the technique has been proved to be quite feasible, so scammers will keep putting it in their employment. 

Hackers behind cashpoint scams?

Hacking TMs is a piece of cake for some hackers. ATMs’ outer casing is frequently concealed USB ports , utilised for software maintenance and updates. Were a hacker to locate a hidden port, he could insert a portable USB drive with malware installed, taking over the machine. This basically permits the hacker to dispense cash cardless. 

The black box attack 

Close to a decade ago, a different type of scam emerged. The action was concerned with cutting holes in the ATM casing , physically setting apart the cables joining the computer and the cash dispensing system. Then, another computer was plugged into the cash dispensing system’s controls, permitting the scammer to order the dispenser to release massive amounts of cash. 

Long-distance heart-break: Hacking the network 

The ATMs telecommunications connection gives another indication of how a new type of cashpoint scam may proceed. Though this has not been proven, it is posited that it just might be possible for cashpoint scammers to intercept communications between the bank and the cash machine. This might further facilitate malware installation. The latter would guide/misguide the ATM to dispense large cash amounts to unauthorised persons. 

You found a skimmer on an ATM -now what?

In case you have lingering suspicions about the ATM you are using having a skimming device, let the relevant bank saff know. In case the branch is closed when the suspicious activity takes place, it would be best to apprise the Police of the matter.

You’ve been skimmed – now what?

Ensure you review your transaction history periodically. Actually , a weekly review comes highly recommended. If your card has been compromised, the best course of action would be to get hold of it early to reduce inconveniences/losses. 

Good,leading banks take cognisance of the complexity of the situation. When a client gets thus swindled thru no fault of his own, the bank comes forward to take the onus of the incident on itself. The impacted client only has to report the cashpoint scam to the bank within 2 months of the transaction. The affected card is replaced, and there’s rationalisation of the fraudulent charges resulting from the cashpoint scam. The particulars are best obtained from the concerned bank itself. 

Can new technology take out Cashpoint scam?

The chip-enabled card insured by banks is said to be safer against cashpoint scamming. Conclusive evidence is lacking. 

Two Factor Authentication is supposed to give additional security layers to each transaction; however, given that the tech’s easy enough to replicate, 2FA is going to be replaced by smartphone apps that can release new codes every few seconds – finally permitting ATM Tech to outstrip cybercriminals. There are one-time codes and physical keys. In addition, some ATMs are equipped with palm readers to ensure only the right person accesses his account in Japan. 


Therefore, biometrics could be that future wave that would put the restless thievery of cashpoint scammers at rest. However, while we wait for that fingerprinting tech to become more cost-efficient, we have to steadfastly use our existing cash machine technology. Vigilance will keep away scams. Client friendly banks will keep on supporting clients against cashpoint scams with all the characteristics of natural disasters. 

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