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Do you protect your PIN at an ATM?

The days are drawing in (in the Northern hemisphere at least), its dark, its cold, and its busy in the lead up to Xmas and the New Year.  A lot of money is taken out of ATMs this month.  Its a good time for fraudsters!

The easiest way to significantly reduce risk to your card when using an ATM (or any other terminal) is by covering one hand with the other when entering your PIN.

This protects against the threat of financial loss due to your card being copied (by a skimming device that you may not see), being trapped inside the ATM (and subsequently removed by a criminal), or being stolen and subsequently used (Signature based and CNP transactions excepted).  Time is against the bad guys.

The most common ways that criminals obtain a PIN at an ATM are by looking over your shoulder (defeated by covering your PIN), by using spy or micro cameras (also defeated by covering your PIN) and by using a false overlay over the PIN pad.

It should be second nature to cover your PIN at an ATM, just as you don’t typically hold your wallet wide open when removing notes, so that others can see how much is in it.

I'm in the security game and I do cover my hand when entering my PIN.........well most of the time at least.............when I'm not in a rush or distracted..............or Xmas shopping!


How to shield your PIN - picture courtesy of EAST

Comments: (1)

Uri Rivner
Uri Rivner - BioCatch - Tel Aviv 18 December, 2009, 11:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Today’s ATM skimming devices often come with a built in PIN pad – a touch pad that is glued on top of the ATM pad and effortlessly captures the PIN. When the notorious Chao, master manufacturer of ATM skimming devices was caught in Istanbul last year, they found over 2,000 fake PIN pads and 1,000 matching skimming devices.

Personally I cover my hand to avoid ‘low tech’ camera capture, but I also look carefully at the PIN pad to see any signs of tampering, is it a new pad, does it look too thick etc.

Uri Rivner


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