While ATMs have made banking easier, they have also become a prime target for criminals looking to steal people's access card information using skimmers.
TikToker Eric, who runs the account @chicagoslots, recently shared a warning about ATM skimmers on the platform after he stumbled upon one that might have taken his personal info in Chicago.
In the video, Eric shows himself removing a skimming device from an ATM at a Walgreens in Chicago. He writes in the video's text overlay that he wanted to withdraw cash for a haircut and knew that something was not right when he inserted his card into the ATM. Eric claims that the ATM was compromised, and anyone who has used it may have had their card information stolen.
“I went to go withdraw money for my haircut, and I knew when I put my card in, something didn’t feel right,” read the caption over his video. “If you used the ATM at Walgreens on Belmont and Paulina, your card has been compromised!”
I cannot believe that this just happened! #chicago #walgreens #scam #scammers #fraud #theft
In the video, Eric shows himself removing the skimming device, although with great difficulty.
A skimmer is a device installed over a card reader that captures access card information without the victim's knowledge, according to the FBI.
These skimming devices can be difficult to spot because they are usually small and designed to fit onto normal card readers seamlessly, the FBI says. Once a skimming device is installed, it captures the victim's card information, while allowing them to complete their transaction as usual. Criminals can later harvest that data and use it to defraud the victim in various ways.
The comments section on Eric's video showed how common this problem is, with many people sharing their own experiences and offering prevention methods.
Many users suggested always tugging on card readers before inserting the card, while others shared that they only withdraw or deposit cash in person at their banks.
One person commented, “Good thing you caught it. You can lock down that card fast.”
Another user asked, “How does this happen inside and no one notices it being compromised? Walgreens has 87 million cameras. Put the ATM in the lashes aisle.”
“That’s why I go inside my bank if I even need cash,” wrote another commenter. “Can’t trust ANY ATMs nowadays. Thanks for the post!”
A person claiming to be a former bank employee wrote: “I always pull on them before inserting my card. Years working in a bank, this happened so many times it’s sad.”
In the comment section, Eric confirmed that after he alerted the staff about the skimming device, the employees called the police.
Narcity reached out to the Walgreens location where the skimming incident occurred, and a spokesperson said they are “not able to give any information” on the incident.
According to the FBI, skimmers are commonly found on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals and fuel pumps.
The FBI recommends inspecting ATMs, POS terminals and other card readers for scratches or anything loose, damaged or crooked before using them. They also recommend covering the PIN pad before using it.
So the next time you go to take out cash, give the card slot a tug and be cautious!