Tuesday, January 18, 2011

12 Ways to Steal Money from an ATM? Just kidding!

For many of us an ATM looks like a tamperproof device plugged into a wall without any visible openings through which cash could be stolen. Would you be surprised to know that the very ingenious fraudsters have invented over a dozen ways to steal the bank's or your money from an ATM?  Needless to say some of these devices can be purchased on the Internet with prices ranging from 1500 to 5000 US $. Here’s the list in random order as fraud types in countries differ.
  1.  Rob staff filling money into an ATM or the customer visiting an ATM :- An old movie favorite
  2.  Steal the entire ATM :- Dig it out of it slot, hoist on a pick-up truck and take it away
  3.  Use Explosives :- Seal the ATM opening, fill it up with an explosive gas, blast it apart and make away with the cash
  4. Install Fake ATM’s with real cash :- Collect customer card data and pin numbers, forge  new cards and withdraw money from genuine ATM’s
  5. Steal the ATM card :- You will be surprised how many people actually write the PIN on the back of the card
  6. Befriend the driver :- In India, a lot of people actually send the driver to withdraw money from the ATM
  7. Install card skimmers: - Devices which sit over the card insertion slot and have a pinhole camera. As customers use the ATM, the device copies card magnetic data and records the pin through the pinhole camera.  This information is used to create a cloned card to withdraw cash
  8. Steal the card data through a lookalike bank website: - Send fake emails which direct a customer to a lookalike bank website which prompts the customer to fill in the debit card details and pin. This information is used to create a cloned card to withdraw cash
  9. Install malware to compromise the machine and dish out cash :- Most ATM’s use Windows on which customized malware can be written which allows a trigger card to generate a small program to  withdraw cash
  10. Read an ATM manual downloaded from the Internet: - A badly configured ATM with a default passwords may allow administrative access from the customer screen. By modifying privileges cash may be withdrawn
  11. Force the ATM into an error condition while dispersing cash :- In this case the ATM provides  cash while reversing the transaction
  12. Use a cash trap :- A special device inserted into the cash dispensing slot which eat up money which is collected  by the fraudster later
 Try and use ATM’s which are not in open areas . It is more difficult to install card skimmers in ATM's which are in banks or under surveillance
Avoid writing your PIN on the back of your card, sharing PIN’s or keying in PIN numbers on websites
 Ensure that you react quickly if your receive an SMS for a withdrawal, you did not make.  
Call the bank if the machine did not dispense all the money you withdrew
It may be difficult for a layman to detect card skimmers, fake pin pads or fake ATM shells.

Related Reads

Youngest Team attempt to Raid an ATM in Mumbai



  1. Dear Sir,

    How about decimalisation attack ?? I am trying to understand this !!

    Divyendu Bhatt

  2. Or you could wait for someone to take money out and then pick pocket them.... That way you won't be directly watched through surveiliance cameras and it's just easier if you have quick fingers.

  3. We have a strong policy to the data collection. People are familiar with Paypal service in USA; it is the the default. Some people are more interested in processing. This service has an impact on the purpose. Perfect Money ATM Card.