ATM fraud has been on the rise in recent years, and authorities recently discovered one of the reasons behind it has to do with something you have with you every day.
According to the Daily Mail, gangs have been removing cell phone cameras from their housings and rigging them inside ATMs to video people entering their PIN. The cameras are placed under a false panel near the keypad, and are angled in such a way that allows it to visibly see a person’s PIN.
At the same time, another planted device is used to “trap or clone” their bank card, giving these thieves complete access to the account. Gang members are often nearby so that once someone completes a transaction, they can secure the device and steal the information.
Police advised people throughout the U.K. to be on alert for these devices, but warned people not to take the camera or other scanning equipment. “They will be watching you,” Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit officer Tony Blake said. “If you go off with their camera, they might come after you to get their equipment back. It's best not to try looking for devices fitted by fraudsters as the vast majority are very small and well concealed.”
Since the camera devices came into use, Britain’s card fraud has risen to £100 million ($150 million) per year. Other means of stealing bank information have been used as well, including something called card skimming. Card skimming, a more sophisticated process, uses a device that is fitted around the card slot to read data from the card’s magnetic strip as it enters the machine. The data from the strip is then stored on a memory card.
Blake said the best way to prevent becoming a victim of phone camera ATM fraud is something that has become habit for many people who use the machines for transactions. “The best way to beat the fraudsters is always to protect your PIN when using a cash machine by shielding your hand,” he said. “If you spot anything unusual about the cash machine or there are signs of tampering, do not use it.
“Make sure you store your bank's 24-hour phone number in your mobile phone,” Blake continued, “and if your card is retained by the cash machine, or your money is not dispensed, immediately report the incident to your bank while you are still nearby.”