Sunday, January 8, 2012

1.5 m$ skimmed from US ATMs ! Neither bank nor customers notice?

Last month, I wrote in my post " Youngest Team attempts to Raid an ATM in Mumbai  " about two boys, one 12 and the other 15 who were caught trying to break open an ATM in Mumbai. These boys planned the break in and also covered their faces in front of the camera.

This episode stood in stark contrast with the current news report "Romanian Man Charged in $1.5 Million ATM Skimming Scam" in the Wired where a Romanian man was arrested for stealing 1.5 m$ over 7 months from 40 ATMs in the US, who did not bother to cover his face when he installed ATM skimmers. ATM skimmers are 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

 If we read the facts in the report: 
  • 1.5 million  is not a sum to go unnoticed. It would have resulted in either a large number of customers being defrauded and several customer complaints or few complaints if most customers did not monitor their bank statements.
  • 40 ATM of the same bank were targeted in three main location of Manhattan, Long Island and Westchester
  • The skimming operation lasted 7 months, a fairly long exposure window
  • The skimmer did not bother to cover his face while installing skimmers on ATM's
The fraud could have been noticed earlier had customers monitored their bank statements and their transactions. Real time monitoring and use of video analytics at ATM's reduce ATM skimming frauds..

Most people in India use an SMS and email alerting service from banks and credit card companies post each transaction. This is the best way to detect such frauds as poring over monthly statements is a chore.

Related Reads:

12 Ways to Steal Money from an ATM? Just kidding

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