855-683-9259Place a Service Call

Defending Against ATM Skimming Attacks: Strategies for Your Florida Bank

In the digital age, the convenience of the ATM and ITM has become an integral part of the modern bank. However, with this convenience comes a growing threat: ATM skimming attacks. These ATM skimming attacks have been on the rise in recent years, posing significant risks to both Florida financial institutions and their customers. 

In this article, we will explore the rise of ATM skimming attacks and offer strategies that Florida banks can implement to prevent them, drawing on credible sources and industry best practices.

The Rise of ATM Skimming Attacks

It is estimated that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year. Last year in Florida the number of compromised cards, including all types of cards, was 7,901 – up from 2,873 in 2019. That’s a 175% increase.

The increase in ATM skimming attacks can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Technological Advancements: Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated skimming devices, making it harder for customers to detect them.
  2. Increased Connectivity: ATMs are more connected than ever, making them vulnerable to remote attacks and data theft.
  3. Evolving Fraud Tactics: Criminals continuously adapt their techniques, making it challenging for banks to keep up with the latest threats.
  4. High Reward, Low Risk: ATM skimming is an attractive option for criminals because of the potential for high financial gain with relatively low risk compared to other forms of theft.

The Impact of Skimming Attacks in Florida

Skimming attacks across the state of Florida are happening consistently and more frequently. Here are recent skimming events in Florida that made local news headlines: 

  • Skimming devices were reported in Petaluma and Rohnert Park, according to authorities. 
  • Morgan Hill police found six skimmers and a tiny camera at two ATMs owned by Bank of America. Just a few months before, another set of skimmers was found at another location in the same area.
  • The FBI is asking for the public’s help in finding three men wanted in a South Florida ATM skimming scam that swiped information from hundreds of bank customers. Authorities say a group placed the skimmers at 18 bank branches, resulting in the theft of information from at least 407 customers.
  • Two men are accused of skimming debit card information from ATM locations throughout the Florida Panhandle to steal more than $11,000 from victims.“During that period, it was reported to us that approximately 700 cards were skimmed at various locations,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.

Preventing Bank ATM Skimming Attacks in Florida

To safeguard their customers and protect their reputation, Florida banks must take proactive measures to prevent ATM skimming attacks. Here are some effective strategies we recommend:

Deploy Anti-Skimming Technology: Invest in anti-skimming technology that can detect and prevent skimming attempts. Anti-skimming devices serve as a formidable defense mechanism against skimming attacks. These devices are designed to detect and prevent skimmers from successfully harvesting card data. They come in various forms, such as electronic jammers, card and PIN shields, and encryption technologies. The primary objectives of anti-skimming devices are:

Detection: Anti-skimming devices utilize advanced technologies to identify suspicious devices or modifications on ATMs and ITMs. These devices can detect irregularities in the card reader’s magnetic field, signaling the presence of skimming equipment. When a problem is detected, the card reader is locked down and a signal is sent to the alarm panel and alert monitoring service. Video Verification can also be used here to identify the suspect.

Prevention: By rendering skimming devices ineffective, anti-skimming technology prevents criminals from obtaining crucial card data. These devices serve as a strong deterrent, forcing criminals to look for easier targets.

Customer Confidence: Implementing anti-skimming measures fosters trust and confidence among customers. Knowing that their financial institution prioritizes security reassures them that their transactions are protected, encouraging continued use of ATMs and ITMs.

Cost Reduction: Skimming incidents not only harm customers but also inflict significant financial losses on banks and financial institutions. By investing in anti-skimming technology, these institutions can save money by preventing fraud and avoiding potential lawsuits.

Regular Inspections: Banks should conduct frequent, comprehensive inspections of their ATMs to check for any signs of tampering or skimming devices. This includes examining card readers, keypad overlays, and any exposed cables. Regular maintenance and servicing of ATMs are crucial to ensure their security.

Encourage Customer Vigilance: Educate customers about the risks of ATM skimming and provide guidance on how to detect and avoid compromised ATMs. Promote the use of chip-based cards, as they are less vulnerable to skimming compared to magnetic stripe cards.

Secure ATM Locations: Ensure that ATMs are placed in well-lit, high-traffic areas with good visibility to deter criminals. Regularly trim nearby foliage to eliminate hiding spots for potential attackers.

Encryption and Security Updates: Implement encryption on ATM card readers and regularly update software to protect against emerging threats. Ensure that ATMs are compliant with industry standards, such as EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa).

Employee Training: Train bank employees to recognize the signs of potential skimming devices and to follow established security protocols in case of a security breach.

Collaborate with Law Enforcement: Maintain a strong relationship with local law enforcement agencies to facilitate quicker response times to incidents and investigations.

ATM skimming attacks represent a growing challenge for banks in Florida and around the world. With the advancement of technology, criminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics. However, Florida banks can adopt a multi-faceted approach to mitigate these risks, ranging from regular inspections and anti-skimming technology to educating customers and collaborating with law enforcement.

In the battle against ATM skimming attacks, staying one step ahead is essential to protect both the financial well-being of your customers and the reputation of your institution. By implementing the strategies outlined here and staying informed about emerging threats, Florida banks can better defend against this evolving menace and maintain a secure banking environment for all.

STS stands ready to help your organization secure and protect your branches, ATMs, and ITMs from fraud and theft.  Reach out to us here to schedule an introductory consultation: info@stsgrp.com.


  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/news/card-skimming-on-the-rise-across-south-florida/
  2. https://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/article/news/how-to-protect-yourself-from-atm-skimmers-according-to-the-fbi/
  3. https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/morgan-hill-card-skimmers-bank-of-america/3160849
  4. https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/trio-wanted-by-fbi-in-south-florida-atm-scam/2016668/
  5. https://www.fox10tv.com/2023/04/25/700-cards-skimmed-bank-atms-northwest-florida/