In its bid to prevent credit card fraud, the New York Police Department has started testing a new device called the “Skim Reaper,” a play on skimmers, the devices that are used by criminals to steal credit card information. The skim reaper has been developed by a University of Florida team consisting of two graduate students and an engineering professor.

The device slides into credit card readers at public locations such as gas stations and ATMs to immediately detect the presence of an additional “read head.” The extra readers are what scammers use to scan the victim’s card and copy information which is then used to create duplicate cards.


Professor Patrick Traynor and his team provided the NYPD with five skim reapers back in February and it has proven to be helpful in the tests. The first skimmer was found using this device at an ATM in Brooklyn.

NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force Deputy Inspector Christopher Flanagan believes that this technology will enable the department to expand its crackdown on skimmers as any officer will be able to inspect machines even if they don’t have the special training that skimming detectives go through.

Traynor has said that it costs around $50 to build one of these devices right now but says that he’s working to bring the cost down.

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