Criminals in Cleveland are using tiny technology called 'Shimmers' to steal your money, information

Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 06:55:47-04

Criminals are making their cash-taking tools so tiny that sometimes they're just unnoticeable. They're putting Shimmers into things like ATMs.

You probably know about Skimmers on card-reading machines. They read and steal information from the magnetic strip on your cards. But police say Shimmers are more of a threat than Skimmers.

Shimmers are mostly undetectable. They're extremely thin. They have an embedded microchip and flash storage slotted inside the card reader. 

As PC Mag points out, that's different from Skimmers which are bulkier and easier to spot. Plus, when a criminal goes to collect their stash of data, they insert a special card of their own to read the Shimmer, making it look like they're using the ATM just like any other customer.

The latest batch of these things was just discovered in Canada, but we also reached out to Cleveland Police, who told us they've had cases of Shimmers at local businesses..

So how can you avoid becoming a victim?

1. Use mobile pay services like Apple or Samsung pay to tap a machine with your info instead of swiping a card.

2. If you're withdrawing cash at your bank, go inside to a teller instead.

3. You can also ask business owners if they're doing daily checks to spot Shimmer devices.

There are reports showing that “most cities are now dealing with this problem.” So, be aware of this, especially if your card sticks a bit when pulling it out. If you're suspicious, call your local police.

MORE: About Shimmers from