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Home DFR Observations & Comment ATM Fraud and Security Digest - January 2013
ATM Fraud and Security Digest - January 2013 E-mail
Written by Douglas Russell   
Friday, 15 February 2013 16:29

Card Trapping / Cash Trapping / Card Swapping

January 2013 commenced with a significant number of cash trapping events detected in Europe. In response to this type of ATM fraud, the ATMIA have published Best Practices for Preventing Cash Trapping at ATMs. Card trapping was also at a significant level in January prompting warnings to the public. In one UK incident, a victim of card trapping followed the instructions displayed on the ATM screen and telephoned her bank to report her card retained. Even so, £300 was still fraudulently withdrawn from the account prior to the card being blocked. Two suspects, including a police officer were arrested in India following incidents of card swapping. The modus operandi included the suspects assisting people with their transactions but exchanging their cards with fake ones. In Uganda, a similar card swapping operation was uncovered. The perpetrators swapped victims valid cards with expired cards issued from the same banks.


Cheque Fraud / Fake Deposit / Leaving Transaction Live

Leaving transaction live fraud using the technique known as ‘stuck key fraud’ was detected in India during January and suspects were arrested. A student in the US was tricked into depositing a fake cheque for a family in (apparent) need. The student gave the cash value of the cheque to the family but the cheque subsequently was found to be fraudulent.


ATM Skimming / Skimming / EFTPOS Compromise

Skimming devices were reported on certain cash deposit terminals in Hong Kong, even although PIN entry is not required to perform deposits. No reports of financial losses were attributed to the incidents which may be explained as the perpetrators incorrectly targeting the wrong type of terminal. The incidents followed previously successful ATM skimming attacks which has prompted the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to announce that from March 2013, all locally issued cards will have international transactions de-activated by default (geo-blocking). ATM skimming arrests in the US included two Romanian nationals suspected of more than $1 million worth of fraud spend. When arrested, a number of re-encoded gift cards, $10,000 cash and a selection of items used for disguise were seized. Police in Australia released CCTV images of an ATM skimming suspect linked to AUD$70,000 of losses. The Brunei Association of Banks (BAB) issued a statement following recent attempted ATM skimming incidents. The statement advises that precautionary measures have been taken by local banks, such as blocking all cards that may have been compromised and reissuing customers with new cards.


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

Police in the US released CCTV images of a man and women manually removing an ATM from a hotel using a dolly. A screwdriver was used to break into a shop in Namibia and steal an ATM. In the US, suspects used a small car and chain in a failed attempt to remove an ATM. Reports indicated more damage was caused to the car than the ATM. Police in the UAE arrested four suspects following the theft of an ATM using chains and a truck. Police in the UK released CCTV images following the ram raid but failed theft of an ATM. Burglar alarms were activated during a failed attempt to remove an ATM from a bank in Bulgaria using metal ropes. A high speed police pursuit in the US ended in the arrest of six suspects following the ram raid and theft of an ATM.


Safe Cutting / Safe Breaking / Theft from ATM

Police in the US arrested two suspects attempting to cut open an ATM using a grinder and blow torch. In Thailand, a youth was arrested attempting to break into an ATM in order to fund his addiction to online gaming. Three suspects in the UAE failed to overcome a bank’s security defences using a blow torch and other tools. They were traced and arrested following review of CCTV. Blow torches were used in the theft from an ATM in India. Also in India, an axe was used in a failed attempt to steal from an ATM.  A crowbar was used in a failed attempt in the US.


Explosive Attacks

Four ATMs were destroyed in an explosive attack in Australia. Explosive attacks against three ATMs in Indonesia in January are not thought to have been an attempt to steal cash. ATM bombings continued in South Africa.


Quick Search Strings:

Theft of ATMs > Failed Theft of ATMs >

Theft From ATMs > ATM Skimming >

Card Trapping > Leaving Transaction Live >

Cash Trapping >


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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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