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Home DFR Observations & Comment ATM Fraud and Security Digest - October 2009
ATM Fraud and Security Digest - October 2009 E-mail
Written by Douglas Russell   
Monday, 09 November 2009 15:16

Ram Raid Attacks / Theft of ATM / Smash-and-Grab

Police in India have called on banks to increase security following the theft of ATMs. Police in the USA (ID) studied CCTV following manual removal of an ATM from a branch location. Also in the USA, there were a number of ATM ram raids. In WA, police released CCTV pictures of a suspect. In MO, a logging chain was used. Chains were also used in the UK. In one UK incident the result was the rear bumper and licence plate breaking off from the perpetrator's vehicle. Mechanical diggers were used frequently in October in the UK, and elsewhere, to remove ATMs. Also in the UK, perpetrators who had disguised a stolen ATM as a car passenger, complete with hooded top and ‘wearing’ a seatbelt, were sentenced to four years and six years prison terms respectively. In Chile, one suspect was killed and two others injured when the ATM they had stolen crushed their vehicle following a collision.

Safe Cutting / Safe Breaking / Frontal Attacks / Theft from ATM

Supermarket staff in the UK discovered an apparent attempt to attack an ATM. The suspects had cut a hole in the roof of the area where the ATM was located. Also in the UK, electric cutting tools were used to open an ATM safe at a fuel station and at a supermarket; oxyacetylene cutting tools ended up setting fire to the cash within the ATM. Power tools were used in many countries during October, including circular saws in the USA.

Explosive Attacks

ATM bombings in South Africa continued in October. In one incident, four suspects were observed failing to successfully open an ATM in Port Elizabeth following an explosion. In Australia, evidence of fire-damaged notes was presented in a case of suspected explosive gas attacks. Also in Australia, an ATM was left badly damaged, but with the cash secure, following a failed explosive gas attack. In Malaysia, CCTV cameras were sprayed with paint prior to the detonation of explosives. The ATM security enclosure was not breached.

CIT (Cash in Transit) / Replenishment Attacks

DNA evidence from adhesive tape used to attach stolen licence plates to a getaway vehicle was offered in evidence against a suspect in an armed robbery targeting ATM cash replenishment guards in the UK during October. Also in the UK, three gang members admitted their role in the theft of ATM cash from CIT staff outside a branch. In India, a suspect was identified after leaving behind personal identification documents following the theft of cash during replenishment of an ATM. A bank official replenishing the ATM had temporarily left the cash in an unsecured location while getting the ATM safe keys. In Saudi Arabia, a CIT driver drove off with approximately US$2.5 million destined for ATMs. Police quickly traced and arrested the driver who had only recently commenced employment with the CIT company and is thought to be linked to previous fraudulent activity in another Saudi Arabian city. A heavily armed gang dressed in police special-forces tactical uniform opened fire on CIT guards in The Philippines during October. An ATM repairman was threatened with a firearm in the USA while working inside a bank branch at night. Cash from the ATM was stolen. In New Zealand, a suspect was arrested after being spotted by a police patrol running away from an ATM replenishment robbery.


Transaction Reversal Fraud / Manipulation / Denomination Fraud

Two suspects in incidents of Transaction Reversal Fraud perpetrated in the UK appeared in court in October charged with offences which include money laundering. A conviction for denomination fraud was reported in Australia during October. The perpetrator used genuine cards from family and friends to withdraw a higher value of cash than was debited to the accounts.

Vishing / Phishing / Smsishing / Advanced Fee / Funds Transfer Fraud

Vishing and Smsishing (Smishing) incidents continued in many locations during October, particularly in the USA. The common theme was the claim that the victims debit card had been ‘restricted’ and required reactivation. Phishing e-mails in India offering income tax refunds were particularly prevalent in October. In the USA, even the Director of the FBI was targeted by a phishing e-mail claiming to be from his bank.

Card Trapping / Card Theft / Distraction

One of four female suspects thought to be involved in combined honey trap, shoulder surfing and card theft was arrested in the USA (TX) in October. Lebanese Loop and Exit Flap Traps were detected in various locations, particularly in the UK, during October.

ATM Skimming / Skimming

ATM fraud in October continued to be dominated globally by ATM skimming and PIN compromise. In one incident alone, in the USA (TN), police estimate there were 500 victims. In Australia, an alert consumer noticed someone acting suspiciously around an ATM and subsequently pulled an ATM skimming device from the ATM. EFTPOS compromise (electronic funds transfer at point of sale ) was estimated by some reports to have reached AU$2.5 million after a fast food chain’s POS terminals were targeted in Australia. In China, Malaysian suspects were arrested for ATM skimming and the use of cameras to compromise PINs.

The above digest is provided by DFR Risk Management, who provide consultancy services advising ATM and self-service terminal deployers and manufacturers, as well as law-enforcement agencies, on how to manage ATM and self-service terminal fraud and security threats.

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