ATM card data theft keyed to skimming

May 21, 2015

SAN DIEGO (5/21/15)--Criminals are using an old--but effective--technique to compromise debit cards used at ATMs, and their success has led to the highest number of attacks on card data in roughly two decades.

Skimming is the capture of a card’s magnetic stripe data and PIN as it is being used at an ATM. According to FICO, its Card Alert Service reported the number of compromised cards has skyrocketed during the Jan. 1-April 9 period of this year compared with the same time last year. ATMs not located at a financial institution experienced a 317% increase in attacks.

Fraudsters today favor rapid deployment and removal of skimming equipment, FICO said. “The constant migration of criminals and their skimming devices results in a micro burst of fraudulent activity that involves less skimming time and less compromised cards per incident,” noted the credit-scoring and analytics firm.

To curb skimming, financial institutions should:

  • Examine machine facades for evidence of tampering such as sticky residue;
  • Test video equipment to make sure it is working properly; and
  • Instruct ATM custodians to closely inspect the front of ATMs for unusual attachments.

Last year, Diebold Inc. and Wincor Nixdorf AG founded an industry association dedicated to improving ATM security. The ATM Security Association aims to include global ATM manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, independent ATM deployers and financial institutions in sharing recognized threats and attacks, cross-vendor recommendations and creating security standards.

Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Services strategic alliance provider, also released an anti-skimming technology last year that reads plastic cards at a 90-degree angle, preventing skimming devices from capturing a card’s full magnetic stripe.

Other Resources

Phishing--Don’t Take the Bait statement stuffer

ID Theft--How to Prevent It and How to Get Over It statement stuffer