from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Thieves are getting more clever about stealing money from ATMs. It used to be that people mostly just had to worry about getting robbed while getting cash at an ATM. In 1998, Joseph Zingher, a Chicago businessman, even patented a "reverse PIN system" called SafetyPIN that would alert police when a cardholder at an ATM entered their PIN in reverse. The idea was that if someone was being forced to withdraw money at an ATM, they could silently alert the police with this "panic code." Unfortunately for Zingher, he was never able to convince the banking industry to adopt his SafetyPIN system. Now, people have to worry about ATM card skimming and other high-tech theft methods. Here are a few examples of some recent ATM theft methods.
- Like something out of the movie Ocean's Eleven, cybercriminals working with "cashing crews" in more than two dozen countries managed to steal $45 million from thousands of ATMs in just a few hours. First, the hackers raised the withdrawal limits on several prepaid debit card accounts, then the account information was distributed and encoded onto magnetic-stripe cards. In NYC alone, a team of 8 people withdrew $2.4 million from a few thousand ATMs. [url]
- Thieves glued the cancel button on several ATMs in Spokane, WA. Their hope was that a customer would make a mistake or try to cancel a transaction, and then realize they can't because the cancel button is stuck. If the customer left in frustration, the thieves could unglue the button and then steal the bank card or continue the transaction. [url]
- A hacker serving a five-year sentence in Romania has invented a device that prevents ATM skimming thefts. The add-on device rotates ATM cards so that skimming devices (as they're currently designed) can't read them. [url]