how to avoid 3D Printing scams, 3D Printed-atm keyboard

a dark side of 3D printing technology

We’ve heard a lot of good news these days about 3D printing technology making our lives better, but now its time for the bad news. While there are guys and gals out there working hard earning an honest wage at 3D scanning services to make your life better, there are also guys out there trying to rip you off. There are three sides to every coin.There is the good side, the bad side, and the crazy side. The people we are talking about here are the bad sides of the coin. Guys that use cool technology to steal your grandma’s retirement. Where did they come from? Who knows. They were probably some nerdy guys down at your local 3D scanning service, and one day, decides to join the dark side. Whoever they are and whatever their story is, the truth is, they have some tricks to scan you out of your money. You need to know how they do it. 

3d printing creates atm keyboards, gangs steal $400,000

3D scanning services and 3D printers can replicate just about anything these day, and thieves are taking advantage of this. One thing that they do is print ATM keyboards. These keyboards are designed to fit over the original, so when you type in your PIN, they can read it. How crazy is that?

“Well”, you’re thinking, “They have my PIN number, ‘Woop-dee-doo’. They don’t have my ATM card. Ha!” 

Well, you’d better think again, because these scan savvy scammers are two steps ahead of you. They have already beat you to the pump and are going to pump the pennies out of your pocket. I’m not talking about some old school punch-you-in-the-gut, steal your wallet n’ twist your arm till you say uncle and give him the password thuggery. 

Oh no, these guys will clean your accounts from a La-Z-Boy before you even start your engine. Using a small device that attaches to the card reader on the gas pump, the moment you slide it into the slot, they have read all of your information. Within moments, your credit card is charged from some location in Slombovia.

In 2011, a gang in Texas stole approximately $400,000 by using ATM card skimmers made from high-tech 3D printers. A copy of the original complaint in this case is available here (PDF).

how do you protect yourself?

In this century, we are more likely to be victims of theft more than a physical crime. 

1. be aware of scammer's tricks

Keep up to date on how 3D scanning and 3D printing technology advances. Knowing about recent applications of the technology gives you a better sense of how people are doing good and harm. Your local news is a good source of information when crimes happen, but understanding 3D scanning and 3D printing trends will help us be prepared. 


2. Be cautious of compromised atm machines

The second thing is to be cautious and aware of the gas pump or ATM machine which may be compromised. Look to see it any seals have been broken on the card slot or if anything has been hidden inside. Thieves sometimes have to break the dispenser seal on the pump to insert their own. Look for any damage and report it to the company. Better yet, get a “Skim Reaper”. It’s a card specifically designed to detect if you are using a fraudulent card reader or not.


3. use or ask for a Skim reaper

Lucky for us, there’s the skim reaper. The Skim Reaper is a device that helps detect if there’s a skimmer in gas pump ATM’s. It’s been tested in New York City and may help stop skimmer criminals for good. Credit card companies have also tried to make ATM’s more secure by inserting chips into cards.

video: Skim Reaper device could stop thieves from stealing your card information

at the end of the day

The reality is that thieves are always going to be improving their high-tech ability to steal money. Remember to keep an vigilant eye on your bank account and keep up to date on 3D printing applications.

Keep reading: more articles about 3D printing applications

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