Image: debaird™

Be careful where you put your card. The ATM manufacturer NCR has recently issued an alert to banks, warning them that there’s been a rise in the use of “deep insert skimmers,” which hide inside cash machines and are virtually impossible to spot.

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Insert card skimmers themselves aren’t new. But they are hard to detect, because criminals place them behind the card slot of an ATM, meaning they’re almost always hidden from view when you use the machine. What is new, however, is that their use is apparently becoming more widespread, as Krebs on Security reports.

NCR has apparently been informed of the use of deep insert skimmers in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Turkey, the UK and the US. In a warning to banks, the company admitted that its skimming protections systems can’t help, either—because the skimmers are placed away from where NCR’s detectors and jammers are usually positioned.

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There may be a way to spot if an insert skimmer is being used, though. An NCR spokesperson told Krebs that the company believes tiny pinhole cameras are used along with many of the skimmers to record PIN details. If you somehow manage to spot something that looks like a tiny camera, it’s definitely best to not use the ATM.

NCR is apparently testing new ways to detect these kinds of skimmers. In the meantime, the advice, as ever, remains the same: If anything ever looks suspicious at an ATM, don’t use it. It’s just a shame that spotting the problem is becoming virtually impossible.

[Krebs on Security]