Previously on C.S.I... a man found an actual card skimmer in the wild, in the flesh. Today, Gizmodo reader Sean became the card skimmer/PIN camera's latest almost-victim. Where? Chase Bank in Manhattan, East Village.
Sean Seibel was inside a local Chase bank where he inserted his ATM card into one of two side-by-side automatic teller machines. When the machine told him it could not read his card, it took him a bit of jiggling to get his card back. He tried it a couple more times and got the same results. Before trying the other machine, he inspected the slot of the current ATM he was using and realized that it had a false plastic cover attached to the slot. The amazing thing about the cover was that the translucent green plastic matched the card reader slot perfectly, meaning that it was made specifically for Chase ATMs. After snapping a few photos with his iPhone, he alerted the branch manager and explained what happened.
As he was leaving, Seibel remembered reading about card skimmers having small cameras in the proximity in order to read PIN pad activity, so naturally, he went back to the ATM to inspect, which is where he found an extra mirror attached to the vandalized machine that the other ATMs didn't have. Drilled into the mirror was a tiny pinhole with a camera inside, directed at the PIN pad. Seibel alerted the branch manager again and asked Chase why they hadn't inspected the ATM after he had warned them the first time. Chase honestly replied that they hadn't thought of it because they had never encountered that sort of thing before.
From the crazy amounts of feedback we received last night after we posted the first story, it seems that card skimmers are a common crime everywhere from Thailand to Mexico. But actually hearing about it happening to our very own readers here in America makes us want to help get the word out. Seibel says it best: "Take this as a warning and please inspect every ATM machine you use, no matter how secure you think the environment is." [Thanks Sean!]