Smile, You're on Criminal Camera
Security Fix recently highlighted a pair of surveillance devices that criminals had attached to an automated teller machine in Tyson's Corner, Va., to steal financial data from unsuspecting bank machine customers. A few readers responded by asking why they should worry if a camera records them entering their PIN since thieves don't have their actual card too.
Perhaps this picture below, compliments of Fair Isaac Corp., will help clarify the situation. Notice the two things that don't belong on this ATM: the beige wireless video recording box at the machine's left edge, and a card "skimmer" that reads and records the account data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of each bank card. The thieves affixed the skimmer on top of the slot where a consumer would insert a card so it's able to nab the data as the card slides in. Working with numerous banks, Fair Isaac's Card Alert Fraud Manager unit monitors roughly 60 percent of ATM transaction traffic nationwide for signs of fraud.
Typically, data stolen using these devices is sold in shadowy online marketplaces catering to identity thieves. The data frequently is encoded onto counterfeit cards and used to withdraw money from the victim's account.
John Buzzard, client relations manager at Fair Isaac's card fraud division, said consumers should definitely do business elsewhere and alert the affected institution if they suspect something is amiss with an ATM. But the most effective step consumers can take to avoid being victimized by bank fraud is to regularly monitor their checking and savings accounts for inaccuracies or anomalies, he added.
"The real message here is to keep a good eye on your account balances," Buzzard said. "The idea of waiting for that paper statement to arrive at the end of the month to reconcile your account just not good enough anymore."
April 18, 2007; 4:44 PM ET
Categories: Fraud , Latest Warnings , Safety Tips
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