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New ATM Scam Tactic: Glued Keyboards

The San Franciso Examiner reported a new ATM scam where thieves used glue to disable the "Clear," "Enter," and "Cancel" buttons on bank ATM machine keyboards. Apparently, the scam works like this:

  1. A bank customer visits an ATM as they normally would. After entering their PIN on the keyboard, the customer realizes that certain keys don't work
  2. The customer abandons the ATM machine without canceling the "live" transaction session, and goes inside the bank branch for assistance
  3. While the customer is inside the bank branch, the thief walks up to the ATM machine and uses the "live" transaction session to drain the victim's bank account of cash

In this scam, thieves didn't have to steal your debit card and PIN. They just used a "live" ATM transaction session that the customer didn't cancel appropriately.

What consumers should do if you encounter an ATM machine with a tampered keyboard? Experts advise consumers to:

  • Use the touch-screen selections to cancel your ATM transaction session. Then, go into the bank branch for assistance
  • Many ATM machines have a phone for assistance. Use that phone, if you don't want to leave the ATM machine
  • Use ATM machines in protected, well-lighted locations; idealy inside bank branches during normal banking hours
  • Use ATM machines with controls that you are familiar with. Know both the keyboard and touch-screen options to complete (or cancel) a transaction session
  • Monitor your bank accounts for fraudulent entries
  • Learn how to recognize ATM machines that have been tampered
  • Watch this video of a thief installing an ATM machine skimming device
  • Be alert, since some thieves attach skimming devices to the ATM booth door-entry mechanisms
  • If you see or encounter the thief, do not approach him/her. Instead, call local law enforcement

Have you encountered an ATM machine with a tampered keyboard? What did you do?


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