Fraud alert: Bold new ATM schemes prompt warnings

  • Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 23, 2013 - 9:25 AM

Fraudsters have found a new way to hijack card information and transfer it to cards that allow them to withdraw massive sums.

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jarlmnJan. 22, 13 9:13 PM

It would have been helpful if the reporter had included some ATM and gas pump safety tips. This article gives folks a feeling that they should be watchful, but then no concrete action-steps. Or else, should we just sit ... until it becomes more of an issue in our region? Even though getting hacked is a complex problem, many people want to know there are at least a few things they can do personally, to avoid getting hijacked.

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cavellJan. 22, 13 9:42 PM

The fraud is happening internally at the bank via scum who gain access to computer transactions. They hack into the network and empty the accounts. There is nothing a single consumer can do. U find out about it when u see ur statement with 50+ withdrawals on ur account.

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viktorvaughnJan. 23, 1312:09 AM

Great reporting Jennifer.

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zouberJan. 23, 13 7:11 AM

US Bank denied this was happening to them which is false. I discovered after 3 days that someone was drawing money from my US Bank account through ATM withdrawals in the Caribbean. I was surprised US Bank wasn't able to spot the irregularities. They did eventually return the ~$1,000 stolen.

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swmnguyJan. 23, 13 8:06 AM

I've read occasional stories over the past few years that US banks have strongly resisted basic safety measures on their cards because it would be expensive, and besides they can reimburse their customers at government expense so they don't care.

My sister married a Canadian, and when their family was in town last summer, they couldn't use their cards in any ATM or card reader locally. When I travel, I can use my card in any ATM in the world. The difference is that my card uses old technology that any reader can read, and their cards have the newer technology which very few readers in the US can read.

Of course, Canadian and other nations' banks haven't taken over their respective governments nearly to the extent that US banks have, so other country's banks have made the investment in secure systems that our banks have not. That's why fraudsters are targeting US banks; because the fraudsters and the banks both know the government is footing the bill and the banks won't upgrade their security systems because they won't be forced to.

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nomedsJan. 23, 13 8:12 AM

"It would have been helpful if the reporter had included some ATM and gas pump safety tips. Use the ATM's inside the bank or withdraw your money directly from the bank teller. Also, if you use your bankcard at gas stations, don't use it as debit card. Instead use it as a credit card.

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swmnguyJan. 23, 13 8:40 AM

"Nomeds" gives some great general tips for card debit and cash card usage.

From the story, it doesn't seem like there's any way to protect yourself from the fraud being described here, though. Just check your balance online every day and immediately report anything suspicious.

Whenever I travel I call my bank and credit card companies to tell them. American Express, for instance, always tells me I don't have to do that. My credit union and Visa issuers say they'll put a note in my file. I have had a credit card number stolen, a Visa card while I was in China, and Chase called my cell phone within minutes of a fishy-looking transaction. They could tell, even though they knew I was in China, that something was "off." They locked down my card, only allowing my hotel bill to go through. So they DO have the capability to do decent security. They just don't want to invest to do it all the time for everybody.

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suefranpatJan. 23, 13 8:43 AM

The ONLY place you should use your debit card as a debit card is at an ATM. Otherwise, always use it as a credit card. The more you use your debit card code the more susceptible you are. And using the debit card as a credit card has the exact same effect - the money is withdrawn from your bank account.

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monkenJan. 23, 13 8:51 AM

If our nation's bank invested in the EMV chip and pin technology for our ATM cards, we wouldn't have this problem. Every single nation in the world except the U.S. uses this technology to effectively eliminate this type of fraud. But our banks have concluded that it's cheaper for them to allow consumers to be exposed to fraud rather than investing in infrastructure to catch up to the rest of the world. Yet again, the U.S. is behind other nations.

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jo1glexJan. 23, 13 8:55 AM

The American banks are leaving the garage door unlocked because they know they can get all the reimbursement they want from the Federal Reserve. Just because you leave your garage door unlocked doesn't mean criminals should still all your stuff; they're still criminals. But really, after a while your insurance company will cut you off if you don't start locking the garage like a sensible adult.

What with all the revelations about US banks making huge money laundering money for the Russian mob in the late 1990s, and the drug cartels up to now and ongoing, I have to wonder if their refusal to plug these security vulnerabilities isn't a hint that they're involved somehow. I haven't seen any criminality that benefits them that they've refused to join in on, or had to face penalties for engaging in, yet.

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