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Warning: look twice before you put your credit or debit card into an ATM device in Phuket (and perhaps anywhere, for that matter). Card skimmers are getting smarter every day and it seems like the banks’ ways of defeating them are now being used against customers too!

Credit card skimming in Phuket is something of an art form. International gangs prey on any area where tourists gather in large numbers, from Paris to Moscow, Hong Kong to Singapore, and Phuket is no exception. In Phuket, the banks have started to fight back by installing hemispherical card slots that are supposed to provide greater security and make it harder for card skimmers to snag your information. But it seems the card skimmers are always one step ahead.

In Phuket we’re now seeing the card skimmers installing their own hemispherical card readers over the top of the bank’s hemispherical card readers.

Inside the Phuket ATM card skimmer
Inside the Phuket ATM card skimmer

The plastic device contains some chips that read your card details as you use the ATM and transmit them to the criminal gang. The device pictured was found attached to an ATM at a Phuket branch of Siam Commercial Bank. Our advice is always look carefully at any ATM before using it. If anything looks suspicious at all, report it to the bank. I’d personally be wary about the bank’s hemispherical device sticking out the front of the ATM, let alone the criminal’s device added over the top of it.

Story and photos courtesy The Phuket News.