EAST Releases First 2013 European Fraud Update

The first European Fraud Update of 2013 was recently released at the 29th European ATM Security Team (EAST) meeting, held in Brussels on February 6th of this year. This update represents the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) consisting of 21 countries, and two non-SEPA countries, EAST stated in a press release.

Thieves have gone to new technical limits, using ATM skimming to make fraudulent transactions. A growing trend amongst criminals, ATM skimming is a high-tech scam where a device is attached and hidden in the slot of an ATM card reader. Once a customer enters their ATM card, these skimming devices will read the magnetic strip, retaining all of the personal bank details. ATM skimming has become highly popular in South America. Overall, eight countries reported an increase in ATM skimming while four countries reported a decrease.

In 2012, ATM related fraud losses were reported in 17 countries within SEPA and 54 countries and territories outside. The EAST report shows that the ATM related fraud losses are continuing to stray from countries that are EMV chip liability areas. The EMV chip is not popular in the United States, which would explain the EAST reports on the US at the top of the list from such losses, along with high losses also in Brazil, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. A useful feature of the EMV chip is geo-blocking, which allows the user to block off card payments in areas outside their selected region. EAST reported that geo-blocking is increasing and currently ten countries show using this feature.

Eighteen countries reported cash trapping, three of which reported to have increased problems regarding this method. Cash trapping is a technique, which thieves use metal claws and other devices to capture cash inside the ATM before it is dispensed. The cash is collected and sits in the machine until the thief comes for retrieval.

Nine countries reported more violent methods in financial fraud, such as ram raids and ATM burglary. Seven countries in Europe reported to have experienced explosive gas attacks, which has proven to be increasingly more popular in this region.

The European ATM Security Team meets to discuss and report the European ATM crime situation three times a year.

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