ATM fraud-The road is tricky

Many developed countries now rely to a great extent on card transaction and a chip-and-pin. However, there is quite a way to go to make it a cashless society across the whole country, with small merchants and traders unable to accept cards. So hard currency is still required, it feels nice to have a some ‘money’ in your wallet or purse instead of a plastic card.

Read the road

Watch the signpost!

Fraudsters are finding new ways of separating us and our hard earned money. One incident that I came across recently was a good old trick, the team operates as a pair, a girl stands on one side of the ‘victim’ and the guy stands on the other and tries to ‘see’ the PIN as it’s typed, the girl keeps distracting the victim all the time so as to slow the victim down, something called the nuisance value. As the victim withdraws the money, the card is then snatched by the accomplice who now has the PIN also. By the time the crime gets reported the crooks are far away and your card is in use.

However, there has been more reported incidents of the use of skimming devices that have grown sophisticated, and pin-hole cameras that ‘see’ the PIN as it’s typed. Others are now resorting to a more technical attack by gaining an understanding of how processors and banks route and review ATM transactions. One ATM I used had its camera actually pointing to the keypad.

In the first case, make sure that you use an ATM that has a cover to shield what numbers are being entered, or cover your hand. Shield the keypad from anyone who may be observing you. If you feel that you are likely to have a visitor or two while withdrawing the money, either walk away or abort the transaction. Keep the hotline number of your Bank handy so as to report the loss. Report insecure ATMs to your Branch quickly.

Ask what you bank is doing to detect fraud; and do they have a fraud detection team that is dedicated to card fraud. One hopes that they have software monitoring the transactions and alerts the fraud team to such transactions. Does the ATM camera actually work? In the case I described above no camera was working nor were the street cameras pointed in that direction.

If you are entrusted with security at banks or are responsible for overseeing ATMs and cards, check what measures you can adopt to keep information processing secure and secret. Following a good practice and even adopting a more secure approach to ATM security will go a long way in ensuring that your customer is well protected. Keep your customers educated and informed on what you are doing to prevent and detect fraud. Cashless transactions will be adopted by customers if they are sure that their transactions are managed securely.

The road to secure e-banking  has twists and turns, make sure you read the signs carefully and watch the road.