ATM Security

On eBay you can buy new and used ATM machines and go into business as a cash machine provider. Many of those used  machines have not had their data banks cleaned so that means the transaction of thousands of card holders are in there. PINs, credit cards, names, addresses, you name it! Even if it is a new machine, it can gather a lot of data in a week or two of operation. How do you know the owner is not a criminal gang? Even the convenience store where it is located might be just a front with the real money being made from exploiting the data gathered and using it to clean out bank accounts associated with ATM transactions. It happens!

Just because you wouldn’t do something as despicable as that doesn’t mean others share your ethics. The world is full of criminals and they are getting smarter and far more tech-savvy. Just because they haven’t stuck a gun in your face doesn’t make them any less of an outlaw. Even if they only hurt the credit providers and you get your lost money back, you will lose out down the track as fees are increased to cover the losses.

I can buy an ATM on eBay for under $2000. I then find a store willing to let me install it and I’m pretty much in business. After six months of uneventful operation I put in a ‘Lebanese Loop’, a card reading device you can detect if you run your fingers around the card slot. I capture the cards and the PINs and clean them out later. Or I use the data inside and have a tech geek friend empty the hard drive every monday. I keep the info on file for a while, let the card holder forget about that one off transaction a few weekends back, then I go online and clean out his account. I could even do it from my own ATM machine!

Hole in the wall banks are a great invention. I can remember how you used to have to make sure you got to the bank by 5pm on a Friday and withdrew cash for the weekend unless you had a credit card. Before the days of the credit card, you didn’t even have that to fall back on. If you ran out of cash you were broke, simple as that. If you were robbed or pick pocketed then you stood to lose a fair whack of cash.

In Australia we use EFTPOS and ATM cards more than cash when it comes to purchases over $20 or so. They are a convenient fact of 21 st Century life. But they do have risks and you need to be aware they are a popular target for criminals. They can get access to large sums of money with little to no risk to themselves. By the time you realize you have been cleaned out they are long gone. They may never have set foot in your country in the first place.

One Response to “ATM Security”

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