Safety at the ATM


What is ATM Distraction Fraud?

ATM Distraction Fraud is when criminals approach you when you are using the ATM and create a distraction. During this distraction the criminals will attempt to steal your cash or your card having just previously shoulder surfed your PIN number. The most common types of ATM distraction fraud are:

  • Criminals will observe you entering your PIN and then place some Euro notes on the ground beside you, one criminal will then distract you and show you the money on the ground for you to pick it up while the other criminal removes your card from the machine and replaces it with another bank card usually from the same bank – This type of confusion fraud can be seen as very strategically planned involving a number of criminals working together in a group
  • Criminals produce a map just as you are withdrawing your funds and are very forceful (in your face) asking for directions while another criminal takes your funds from the machine – this type of confusion fraud while somewhat planned can be seen as opportunistic

Please note that the above instances can have a number of variations and can take place at an ATM or prior to using a retailer.

How to reduce the risk of ATM Distraction Fraud.

  • Always cover your PIN when using the ATM
  • Ensure your transaction is complete before engaging in conversation with onlookers
  • Never leave the ATM machine during a transaction for any reason
  • Always ensure the card you receive back from the machine has your details on it
  • If anything unusual takes place at the ATM report the incident to the branch immediately

What is ATM Skimming?

ATM skimming is when criminals electronically “skim” the Magnetic Stripe at the back of a Bank card in order to steal a card details and Personal Identification Number (PIN) during ATM transactions.

By fitting an often unseen portable electronic card reader and mini camera onto an ATM, they can:

  • Potentially clone debit/credit/ATM cards
  • Capture the Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Use the combined information to withdraw funds from accounts.

It should be noted that these events can happen on the ATM of any bank and is not particular to permanent tsb ATM’s, indeed should you take the necessary precautions on a permanent tsb ATM the risk of compromise is very low.

The cardholder information gleaned from the skimming is normally sold onto crime syndicates and used immediately. While the crime can happen at your local ATM the fraudulent transaction may well take place abroad.

The following video shows criminals fitting a camera to an ATM. While this camera is fitted above the ATM there have been incidents where the camera is fitted to the side of the ATM.

Customer not taking any action to block the view of PIN.

When a cardholders information is gleaned via ATM skimming the fraudster requires the PIN to allow them to use the cloned card. In this video you can see how easy it is for a fraudster to obtain your PIN. Once the fraudster has cloned your card and obtained the Pin they can freely withdraw funds from your account/card.

Customer blocking view of PIN. 

When a cardholders information is gleaned via ATM skimming the fraudster requires the PIN to allow them to use the cloned card. In this video it can be seen how easy it is to prevent the fraudster from obtaining the PIN by simply covering your hand. This method should also be used when using a point of sale machine in a shop.

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