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Automatic Theft Machines: How To Protect Yourself From ATM Skimmers

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Bettina, May 15, 2009.

  1. B

    Bettina Member

    May 15, 2009
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    ATM skimming is on the surge. This week alone, officials discovered two major operations, one based in Staten Island, New York and another operating in three locations in New York state responsible for millions of dollars in theft from hundreds of stolen numbers. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself against the new wave of fraud.
    By Seth Porges
    Published on: May 13, 2009
    When Brooklyn, N.Y.,</SPAN></SPAN> resident Nick McGlynn stepped into a Chase bank in April, he quickly noticed something was wrong with one of the ATMs. "I saw a mirror that looked out of place," McGlynn says. "It was in the center of the ATM, above the keypad. So I pulled on it and it came right off. Then I pulled on the card reader and it came off too. They were both held in place with double-sided tape."

    McGlynn had discovered an ATM skimmer—a device attached to an ATM by criminals looking to steal bank card information and/or PINs. The simplest skimmer setups involve little more than a $300 magnetic stripe reader and a hidden camera aimed at the ATM keypad. The reader snaps up your card's information, and the camera records your PIN as you enter it. With this information, a perpetrator can create and use a phony plastic clone of your card. Or, if the setup features a camera aimed at the card reader so as to record the card's printed security code, they can also use the information to make online purchases.

    All the information gathered is either stored on a memory card or connected laptop hidden nearby, or sent to another computer via a 3G wireless card. In some cases, the mag stripe reader is placed next to the ATM's actual card slot, which is covered with an "Out of Order" sign. The false reader also may be placed directly over the real card slot, sucking up data as the card passes through to the bank's machine. When this happens, users get cash and a receipt as if nothing had happened.

    While nobody knows just how many ATM skimmers are out there, reports have been surging. Over the course of just one week in April, at least three were discovered on Washington Mutual/Chase ATMs around the country. This past week, four Romanians were arrested for setting up skimming devices on multiple machines across New York state, allowing them to wire almost $2 million in stolen funds back to Eastern Europe. Also this week, the NYPD discovered another skimming operation set up on several Sovereign Bank ATMs in Staten Island. The total take: more than $500,000 from more than 250 victims.

    And the banks acknowledge the skimmers have become a problem. "We have security and fraud teams investigating these and other incidents that have come to our attention," Christine Holevas, a spokesperson for Chase Bank, says. "But consumers need to know that they are not liable for any charges or withdrawals they do not make."

    Unfortunately, the barrier of entry for would-be thieves is low.

    "A criminal can do a simple Google search, spend some money buying some parts on eBay, and within a couple of days have a fully operational card skimming operation in place," John Pironti, president of digital security consulting firm IP Architects, says.

    Because these parts are often cobbled together from various sources, few ATM skimmers look exactly alike. The camera could be from a cell phone , the battery an off-the-shelf lithium-ion cell. Criminals aren't interested in creating a polished device—just something that works well enough to steal information for a few hours or days before it gets discovered and removed.

    So how can you spot a skimmer? "If it looks like something's been attached, snapped or glued onto the ATM, that's a warning sign," Pironti says. "ATMs are pretty straightforward, so if something looks physically wrong, it probably is."

    "Be vigilant at ATMs," says Secret Service special agent Malcolm D. Wiley Sr. "Visually and physically check the machine," he says. "Most skimmers, key pad overlays, and cameras will be recognizable to the typical ATM user." In particular, users should pay attention to the card reader and anything that protrudes from the machine, such as a mirror or pamphlet-holder—these are prime hiding places for tiny cameras. It can't hurt to give any of these items a quick tug to make sure they weren't glued or taped into place. Another red flag: Any machine in a row of ATMs that looks different from the others.

    And always do your best to conceal your fingers as they type your PIN (try holding your other hand over the one typing). That way, even if there is a hidden camera, it will have a hard time capturing your PIN.

    Another suggestion: choose a PIN with a doubled number, e.g. 8556, and learn to enter it quickly. Anyone or anything looking at the keypad won't be able to easily figure out which key you hit twice. This is a good idea for passwords as well.
  2. s

    secureatm New Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Joined: Nov 1, 2009
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    No one is immune from identity theft. Your information helps how to best protect our assets from identity theft. Good to learn about the methods that criminals use to steal our identity, and about the ways that we can circumvent this malicious activity.

    Thanks for sharing.
  3. Jayfour_King

    Jayfour_King JF-Expert Member

    Nov 16, 2009
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    Kwa bongo tunaomba wachelewe kufika angalau wabongo wengi tuelimike kidogo, kwani sehemu nyingine kwenye ATM watu huingia wawili wawili kwa ajili ya kufundishana jinsi ya kutumia ATM hapa waweza kuona mazingira kama haya jinsi gani hawa jargons wa ATM wakija bongo watakavyo fanikisha mauzo kupitia uhalifu.

    Ushauri kwa watoa huduma wetu (Mabenki) watoe elimu hii kwa wadau benki zetu nyingi hazina mfumo mzuri wa elimu kwa wateja hivyo dhahama kama hii ikifika kwetu ni lawama kwa benki kila siku, haitamuingia akilini mtu kwa kawaida kumwambia kwamba suala kama hili limetokea (yeye hajachukua pesa na hazipo kwenye account) halafu benki wamwambie kwamba hawajui lolote kuhusu hili. Hivyo benki tusaidieni kwenye hili, kama kwenye forum kuna mdau yeyote wa benki atufikishie mambo haya kwa wadau.