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Photo: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

The U.S. Secret Service has been warning financial institutions about an increase in an ATM hack that is physically installed to pilfer off customer account data from ATM card readers, according to Brian Krebs' KrebsOnSecurity, who obtained a non-public alert the service sent to banks this week. The Secret Service told Axios its Electronic Crimes Task Force partners obtained intelligence about ATM skimming and that fraud alerts were sent to financial institutions about it.

Why it matters: There is anti-skimming technology that can prevent criminals from successfully stealing the data or that can set off an alarm when a skimming configuration is installed — but robbers are getting more tech-savvy and skirting around some of these safeguards.

The tech: Last year an innovation began circulating that lets crooks know when an ATM likely already has anti-skimming technology so they can move on without getting caught, per Krebs. It sells for $200.

  • Some anti-skimming devices are “frequency-jammers,” which scramble the card data and confuse skimming devices.

How the hack works: Criminals drill a hole in the front of an ATM, which is later covered up with a faceplate to conceal the hole. They then attach card-reading devices with a magnet, and later attach a camera to obtain PINs as well.

What to watch: The Secret Service told Axios that the ATM skimming activity has been detected "throughout the east coast from Maryland to Massachusetts," but their current data does not yet point to a trend in location for the hacks.

Krebs advises: "If you visit an ATM that looks strange, tampered with, or out of place, try to find another machine. Use only ATMs in public, well-lit areas, and avoid those in secluded spots. Most importantly, cover the PIN pad with your hand when entering your PIN."

  • "Finally, try to stick to cash machines that are physically installed inside of banks," Krebs wrote last year.

Editor's note: This has been updated with the latest details from the Secret Service.

Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.