ATM Skimmers

Card skimming,

ATM users.

Whilst this scam can be pulled off by one person, it usually performed by three to four operatives who are in turn bank rolled by a larger crime organisation.

The Scam
A piece of apparatus called a skimmer is attached to an ATM's card slot. This skimmer copies the information on the victim's card. The PIN is obtained by peaking at the victim's hands as they enter their pin. The con artist can now duplicate the victims card and use the PIN to clear out their account.

Looks ok?


Look again!

The PIN of the victim can be obtained by looking over the victim's shoulder, via hidden camera or even by helping the victim use an apparently faulty ATM. One con artist told the victim that his card had been captured as well and the only way to get it back was to hold down three buttons then press in your PIN three times. This was impossible to do with only two hands so the con artist helped, g
iving him three chances to see the victim's PIN.

The skimmer can also be fitted with a radio device, sending the cards information to a nearby laptop where the card can be more quickly duplicated. It is possible to duplicate a card before the victim has even finished using the ATM.There have been cases of victims having their mobile phones stolen and the con artist texting their spouse saying "hey honey - what is my PIN again?"

The more low tech version of this scam is the Lebanese Loop, where a piece of plastic or strip of metal is used to stop the ATM from returning cards. Only the con artist knows how to fish the card out later.

Case Study
A branch of the Westpac bank in Box Hill has been hit by card skimmers that netted con artists around $100,000 from 75 customers and lead to the bank cancelling almost 1000 cards. A device was installed on the ATM that allowed con artists to copy the user’s card. Westpac has since installed new ‘jitter’ technology the reads the information on the card in a more random way.

Technically, the take is limited by the balance of the victim's account but since most ATMS limit daily withdrawals, the basic con artists get only get $500-$5000. More advanced con artists can empty an account!

ATM, Money, Short Con, Electronic Fraud, banking

Created by Nicholas J. Johnson
Australia's Honest Con Man

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