Security at cash dispensers: how to protect your current account from skimmers at ATM machines

Ever heard of "ATM Skimmers"?

Skimming is a fraud characterized by an illegal card reader that reads and stores card data; an actual fraudulent device that thieves use on ATM machines. 

In most cases, a magnetic stripe card reader is applied above or within the actual card reader. Often this stratagem also uses hidden micro-cameras that record the PIN codes.

Some skimmers save the data on the device itself and the thieves need to recover them in order to download the stolen data. Others contain a system that sends data via a GSM network.

How to avoid skimmer systems and protect your current account?

ATM skimming can take place anywhere: whether traveling in developing countries or urban centers in our cities.

It often takes place in public areas or at ATMs outside banks (in small supermarkets or malls, for example). When traveling, it is always advisable to stay alert. ATMs in crowded areas are less secure because they are not checked regularly, and thus they are easier to tamper with.

To prevent the theft of your data, you should pay particular attention to details: for example, a slight discoloration of the card reader or a keypad that looks newer than the entire ATM system.

In the event of theft, thieves can use the card data in two ways. They usually transfer data to a "homemade" card and use it with the PIN to make purchases, or they sell the data on the black market. This is how suspicious transactions take place in remote countries. 

What is the data regarding fraud attacks on ATMs?

According to the European report on payment terminal crimes published by EAST with regard to last year, it is reported that physical attacks on ATMs have increased for the fourth year in a row.

A 27% increase compared to 2017. Explosive attacks (including explosive gases and solid explosive attacks) have instead decreased by 3%. In total, for both fraudulent and explosive attacks, over 36 million Euros were lost, with a 16% increase compared to 31 million Euros registered in 2017.

These sums obviously do not take into account the collateral damage to equipment or buildings, which can be significant and often exceed the value of money lost in successful attacks.

What is the forecast for this year, regarding fraud attacks on ATMs?

EAST Executive Director, Lachlan Gunn, stated: "The success rate of solid explosive attacks is particularly worrying. These attacks continue to spread, with two important reports already being highlighted at the beginning of 2019. It is necessary to have reliable solutions for ATM 

security.” Solutions that the Custom Group can now offer to the Banking & Finance sector, where security is an essential requirement; from innovative software to printing and reading solutions complete with anti-vandal and anti-pollution shutters.

Published on 08/08/2019 in Trends & Markets