Travel Alert — Bluetooth ATM Skimmers

While many of us are planning for the upcoming snowbird season, others are planning to take advantage of our need for cash while travelling.

If you use ATM machines, here’s yet another scam designed to empty your back account.

Brian Krebs — the guru on cybercrime — recently spent 4 days in several resort areas of Mexico researching one of the latest ways to relieve you of your money.

I spent four days last week in Mexico, tracking the damage wrought by an organized crime ring that is bribing ATM technicians to place Bluetooth skimmers inside of cash machines in and around the tourist areas of Cancun. Today’s piece chronicles the work of this gang in coastal regions farther south, following a trail of hacked ATMs from Playa Del Camen down to the ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum.

In front of hacked ATM in Playa del Carmen

In front of hacked ATM in Playa del Carmen

As I noted in yesterday’s story, the skimmers that this gang is placing in hacked ATMs consist of two Bluetooth components: One connected to the card reader inside each machine, and another attached to the PIN pad. Both components beacon out a Bluetooth signal called “Free2Move.” The thieves can retrieve the purloined card and PIN data just by strolling up to the hacked ATM with a smartphone, entering a secret passcode, and downloading all of the collected information.

You can read the rest of this article on his blog.

Take a read through the comments below his article and you’ll find a partial list of the compromised ATMs that Brian found.

A word to the wise: Don’t think that because you’re not travelling to Mexico that your money is safe. Successful techniques like bluetooth skimming are bound to show up in other areas soon, if not already.


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