Saturday, December 27, 2008

ATM Skimmers

About twenty five years ago, I worked with an elderly gentleman B. in a very big institution. While all the younger employees were paid by direct credit, the older workers were wary aboutthe computer.

B. told me, "One got to be careful, people entering data in the computer can easily make mistakes."

So every pay day, he would walk up to the pay office, queue with the like minded people and get his pay in dollar note.

He also warned me about the ATM machine. I guess if he was reading today's news, he would say," I told you so."

ATM skimmers target shoppers

4:00AM Sunday Dec 28, 2008, New Zealand Herald
By Jared Savage

Are you a victim of ATM skimming?
Email the Herald on Sunday

Tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen in a brazen attack by ATM fraudsters in two of the country's busiest shopping districts.

The scammers fixed skimming devices to National Bank money machines in Auckland's Queen St, Vulcan Lane and Parnell last month. The criminals are believed to be linked to another skimming attack in Hamilton around the same time.

All three machines are on busy streets and have anti-skimming jitter devices, which literally shake the card, supposedly making it harder for them to be read.

The skimming attack comes as banks admit gangs of foreigners are increasingly targeting ATMs in New Zealand.

The skimmers use a device fitted to an ATM which copies the magnetic strip of a credit or eftpos card as it is fed into the machine. The crooks then use either a hidden camera or "shoulder surf" the victims to obtain PIN numbers.

More than 800 customers used the Auckland ATMs during the narrow timeframe, but the National Bank has refused to reveal how much was taken other than to say the amount was "significant".

As in most skimming cases, the fraud was not detected for weeks until a bank customer was alerted to a suspicious transaction.

As yet, no ATMs of other major banks have been hit by the skimmers, although a small number of BNZ and Westpac customers used the targeted machines.

National Bank refused to reveal details of the police investigation, or if fraud detectives were following any strong leads, but CCTV cameras are located above the Vulcan Lane and Queen St machines.

National Bank spokeswoman Virginia Stracey-Clitherow said all affected customers were alerted and replacement cards issued. Although widespread in Europe, skimming is rare in New Zealand, but she admitted the skimming gangs were "coming to New Zealand now".

The latest attack in Auckland comes shortly after the successful police prosecution of two illegal immigrants, Jan Marius Scutariu, 31, and Andrei Iustin Raileanu.

The Romanian pair stole nearly $35,000 with cloned credit cards after gluing a skimming device to a Westpac ATM in Hamilton - fitted with a "jitter" mechanism to supposedly prevent skimming.

But the "green sleeve" and "jitter" technology, introduced after a Russian couple stole $100,000 from Bank of New Zealand customers in 2006, have failed to stop the most recent scams.

Any losses incurred by banks from skimming are claimed from insurance companies - costs which are ultimately passed on to customers in higher banking fees.

As money machine skimming is rare in New Zealand, police and banking experts say banks make an "economic decision" to use cheaper security measures.

1 comment:

Simon said...

I heard that the equipment used to capture our ATM card number and PIN is cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. Nice Post..