ATM Skimming – Protect yourself from ATM card skimmers

Protect yourself from ATM card skimmers using some precautionary steps.

As reported recently in the Brisbane Times, a sophisticated international ATM skimming ring has hit south east Queensland and police believe hundreds of machines could have been targeted.

Fraud Squad Detective Superintendent Hay said the thieves not only empty people’s bank accounts but can assume their identities by matching details with information obtained from social media sites to obtain credit in a move that can leave victims thousands of dollars in debt.

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He warned ATM users to be vigilant because it was impossible to tell how many others in the state’s south east could be affected.

Using card skimmers – machines which take data from a card’s magnetic strip, often hidden on high-traffic ATMs around the globe – the criminals used this information to confirm that the card was active, before going on to steal money from the attached accounts.

ATM skimming has been a problem for a number of years however as technology changes and becomes more advanced, so too do the methods of fraudsters though chip and pin-based ATMs and point of sale systems means card skimming is much less of a problem in Australia compared to the US. ATM skimming, does however, remain a common form of card fraud in Australia.

Police are warning members of the public to be on alert for ATM card skimming devices fitted to ATM’s. A device similar to the one pictured below was fitted to an ATM in the Ascot area this week.

The ATM skimming device (pictured below) is used to steal and use identification data from financial institution cards.



ATM Skimming Machine

ATM Skimming Machine

Once this information has been obtained, it is used in various ways to take money from the customer’s account.

The device is a cover plate placed over the original card entry and a small camera (the tiny dot to the bottom left side of the device) attached to record your PIN.

It is believed that all information data obtained by the card skimming devices has been retrieved by police and security of the credit card details has not been compromised.

Police remind members of the public to be vigilant when using ATMs and use simple security actions such as covering your hand when entering your personal identification number.


Tips on avoiding ATM skimming:

  • It may sound simple, but cover the ATM keypad with your hand to shield from any possible hidden cameras.
  • Check the ATM for anything that looks suspicious or that might have been added. Also check for adhesive or tape. If you have any suspicions, just walk away.
  • Monitor your online bank activity and check your receipts against your bank statement — the sooner you spot any potentially suspicious behaviour, the better.


If anyone believes that they have located a skimming device on an ATM they should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

 Do not try to remove the card skimmer device as sometimes the criminals are lurking close by so that they can remove the card skimming device quickly before the police get them.