Security & Fraud

ATM Hacks Spike 546 Percent In 2015

ATM skimming

The growth in compromised ATM incidences continued unabated through the past year, FICO noted on Friday (April 8), with the total number of ATMs being hit rising as much as 546 percent year over year.

Geographically, while in the past breaches were concentrated in large cities on the coasts, in 2015, such attacks were more uniformly spread throughout the country. The average duration of an attack was down year over year, to 14 days from as long as 36 days in 2014.

The latest data displays the highest level of ATM compromises ever recorded by the FICO Card Alert Service, which monitors several hundred thousand ATMs across the county. The activity was highest at ATMs featured in nonbank locations, most notably in convenience stores; ATM compromises in those locations were up tenfold in 2015 over 2014. All in all, nonbank activity accounted for 60 percent of all compromises that were logged by FICO, up from 39 percent in the previous year.

Among tenets of advice, the firm says that common sense should prevail. Checking transactions frequently should be a common practice. If the card does not work smoothly with the machine, that may be a tell that something is wrong. In addition, contacting issuers swiftly can help stop fraud. Many financial institutions will also send SMS text messages or emails in case there is suspicious activity on an account.

In a statement, TJ Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO, said: “Criminals are taking a quick-hit approach to ATM theft and card fraud. They are moving faster to make it harder for banks to react and shut down the compromises. They are targeting nonbank ATMs, which are more vulnerable.”


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