iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Robert Siciliano

Robert Siciliano

Posted: May 4, 2010 06:56 PM

Secret Service: ATM Card Skimming Five Times Higher This Year

What's Your Reaction:

ATM skimming is approaching a billion-dollar issue. ATM skimming is happening coast to coast and there seems to be no end in sight. Skimming devices have been found recently at ATMs at a Bank of America in Daytona Beach and one weekend last month people came and went from the automated teller machine outside a Chase Bank in Escondido, California. They slipped in their cards, took their money and left.

In Boston, police uncovered an international ATM skimming ring responsible for stealing money from hundreds of local accounts. Izaylo Hristov, 28, of Ontario, Canada, a Bulgarian citizen, was arrested at an ATM in the Boston area along with Viadiclav Vladevo and Anton Venkov. Venkov had $99,100 in $20 bills in his car when he was arrested. One of them had Dunkin' Donuts gift cards and American Express cards with post-it notes that had "PIN'' and various numbers written on them. These cards were used to write the stolen data on, and then used to make withdrawals. Apparently a few more than a few people in the Boston area didn't watch this on Fox Boston, or this on NBC Boston or read this in the Boston Globe.

A spate of recent news reports highlight growing ATM fraud. Law enforcement in New York City reported a gang had stolen $500,000 from bank accounts via ATM skimming. They installed cameras and skimming devices on the machines, and recorded the magnetic strips and the PIN numbers.

Don't expect the banks employees to protect you. At a bank in NY an alert customer pulled a skimmer off the ATM and brought it into the bank manager who had never seen a skimmer. She thanked him. He came back in moments later with the small wireless camera. She thanked him again then she shut down the ATM.

Generally, if you can pull something off the face of the ATM where you'd slide your card through, that's probably an ATM skimming device see pictures here.. Banks are investing in new technologies, such as internal hardware that can jam the signal of skimming devices. But customers need to be aware of the problem and keep an eye out for devices affixed to the front of ATMs or cameras mounted near small mirrors or on brochure holders.

To help combat this type of crime, ADT unveiled the ADT Anti-Skim ATM Security Solution, which helps prevent skimming attempts and detects skimming devices on all major ATM makes and models. ADT's anti-skim solution is installed inside an ATM near the card reader, making it invisible from the outside.

See more skim demonstrations on Extra TV.

The solution detects the presence of foreign devices placed over or near an ATM card entry slot, without disrupting the customer transaction or operation of most ATMs. It can trigger a silent alarm for command center response and coordinate video surveillance of all skimming activities. Also, the technology helps prevent card-skimming attempts by interrupting the operation of an illegal card reader.

You can protect yourself from these types of scams first by covering your pin!! Scammers have a difficult time turning your 16 digit account numbers into cash without the PIN. Consider never using a debit card again, since credit cards are safer. When using an ATM, pay close attention to details, and look for anything that seems out of place. If your card gets stuck in the machine or you notice anything odd about the appearance of the machine, such as wires, double sided tape, error messages or the machine seems unusually old and run down, don't use it. Don't use just any ATM. Instead, look for ATMs in more secure locations.

Ultimately, you must pay close attention to your statements. Refute unauthorized transactions within 60 days. Check with your bank to determine what their timeframe is to refute unauthorized withdrawals. In some cases an can be as early as a week.

Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing the Bulgarian ATM scammer getting busted on Fox Boston.

 

Follow Robert Siciliano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertSiciliano