The use of “Shimmers” first came to light in Mexico back in 2015. Later in late 2016 to early 2017 the devices started showing up in Canada. This week Fox News reports that these svelte skimmers are beginning to appear in the USA.

What is a “Shimmer”?

A shimmer or “shim skimmer” is a wafer thin skimming device that is inserted by criminals into the card slot of an ATM or POP card reader. The device can steal and store the data from “secure” chip enabled cards. After a period of time the criminals return to the shimmer’s location and extract the data by using a special card during a purchase or cash withdrawal which simultaneously downloads the data. The information is then used to make fake cards.

Konsultek’s Advice

While the odds are quite low that you’ll ever encounter a “Shimmer” here are some recommendations as to how to be as safe as possible when using an ATM or Point-of-Sale device:

  • If you notice any friction or difficulty inserting your card, report it to the store or bank! A difficult to insert card is a tell tale sign of a “shimmer”.
  • Cover the PIN pad while you enter your PIN.
  • Use common sense and avoid sketchy-looking and standalone cash machines in low-lit areas, if possible.
  • Stick to ATMs that are physically installed in a bank. Stand-alone ATMs are usually easier for thieves to hack into.
  • Be especially vigilant when withdrawing cash on the weekends; thieves tend to install skimming devices on a weekend — when they know the bank won’t be open again for more than 24 hours.
  • Keep a close eye on your bank statements, and dispute any unauthorized charges or withdrawals immediately.


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