Released by the Miami Beach Police, the one minute 17-second video shows how easy it is for criminals to fix a card skimmer to a terminal. The video shows two men enter the store, and while one engages the clerk with conversation and a request for something that’s not close by, his accomplice places a fake front over the card terminal. It takes just seconds, and appears to only need a single button push to get it working.
The moment comes at around 17-seconds into the video, in a blink-and-you’ll miss it moment, and when the timer passes 25-seconds, the skimmer isn’t touched again. Pay close attention to the shape, coloring, and design of the skimmer too — it’s really not all that different to the terminal it covers, making it harder to spot by the hapless person next paying by card, or even the clerk.
The man paying for the goods distracts the clerk, and also uses his body to hide the placement of the skimmer, but not enough to obscure their actions from the camera. However, it wasn’t until the day after that the skimmer was noticed, after it came loose from its fixings and the clerk contacted the police, according to a report by CBS Local.
Skimmers that are fixed over the top of point-of-sale terminals have been around for several years, and are noted as being very simple to use and install. An example seen here recorded the card swipe data on a memory card, and captured the PIN on a fake keypad. It runs on a small battery, and while some need to be collected to gain access to the stored data, others can transmit it wirelessly.
The video’s proof we should all be vigilant when using any kind of ATM or POS terminal with our cards. Look out for suspicious parts fixed to them, and always protect your PIN.