‘Skim Reaper’ could bring kiss of death to skimmers

This could be great news for credit unions because skimmers will likely be a problem for at least the next few years.

It may soon be a lot easier to spot skimming devices on ATMs, gas pumps or other payment terminals, thanks to a new tool developed by researchers at the University of Florida.

Dubbed “the Skim Reaper,” the tool has a plastic card that the user swipes or dips at an ATM, gas pump or other card-reading machine. It instantly tells the user whether there’s more than one contraption inside the machine that is reading the card’s data, indicating the presence of a skimmer.

“Payment card fraud results in billions of dollars in losses annually. Adversaries increasingly acquire card data using skimmers, which are attached to legitimate payment devices including point of sale terminals, gas pumps and ATMs. Detecting such devices can be difficult, and while many experts offer advice in doing so, there exists no large-scale characterization of skimmer technology to support such defenses,” the University of Florida said on a webpage dedicated to the tool.


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