Having just returned from a trip to Spain, I happened to notice an unusual green plastic device protruding out of the card slot (click on the image opposite to expand). Closer inspection of the plastic card slot device and you can see this is a genuine anti-skimming tool – I checked in the bank because even I couldn’t tell if it was a skimmer 🙁 These appear as either blue or green semi-transparent plastic castings which claim to stop the ATM thieves from attaching card skimming devices.
I’m not convinced these plastic casings are the answer (I’ve yet to see them here in the UK, but I understand they can be found in Canada, the US and some European countries). I’ve seen plastic casing removed and replaced with battery-operated skimmers which if fully charged will last for a few days. No one would really know the difference (as I explained above). I’m sure if the banks hardwired the Bank Identification Numbers (BIN) into the card chip then these skimmers wouldn’t work. Maybe a lesson for our banks to be learnt from our Russian banking friends.
So what if you notice one of these anti-skimming devices but are not sure it is genuine? Firstly I suggest you only use an ATM adjoining or inside a bank and always make sure if possible that the ATM is monitored and in a secure area – just look out for cameras if you are not sure.
Another option might be to use a prepaid card if your are on holiday. These cards are useful because you only lose what is loaded onto them. And as I always say ONLY ever use bank ATMs rather than ATMs at other locations i.e. petrol and railway stations.
Safe surfing folks!