Reports Say ATM Skimming Attacks Have Skyrocketed

May 11, 2016 Updated: May 11, 2016

Identity thieves are getting more and more crafty, with perpetrators going on shopping sprees with victims’ credit or debit card information.

One of the most common ways to gain one’s precious card information is via an ATM skimmer.

They are present not only at ATMs, but also at gas station self-serve slots. They can be found at a number of convenience stores as well, as the video shows.

According to a recent report from FICO Card Alert Service, there has been a “dramatic rise” in ATM skimming attacks.

Last month, FICO said that its fraud-tracking service found there was a 546 percent increase in ATM skimming attacks between 2014 to 2015.

“The number of ATM compromises in 2015 was the highest ever recorded by the FICO Card Alert Service, which monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs in the US,” the company said, via Krebs on Security. “Criminal activity was highest at non-bank ATMs, such as those in convenience stores, where 10 times as many machines were compromised as in 2014.”

In 2015, skimming attacks were spread out across the United States, rather than merely relegated to major cities.

“I’ve heard from multiple banking industry sources who said they have seen a spike in ATM fraud targeting cash machines in 7-Elevens and other convenience stores, and that the commonality among the machines is that they are all operated by ATM giant Cardtronics,” Krebs wrote.

Banks in Europe also saw an increase in skimming attacks, a report form European ATM Security Team stated. In 2015, there were 18,738 attacks on European ATMs, which is a 19 percent increase over the previous year.

“During 2015 total losses of 327.48 million euros were reported,” EAST wrote. “This is a 17% increase when compared to the total losses of 279.86 million euros reported for 2014 and equates to losses of 884,069 euros per 1000 ATMs over the period.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which has a section on skimming devices, watch out for skimmers on gas pumps:

Skimmers are electronic devices which steal credit card information from card readers on gas pumps and ATMs. Criminals have been breaking into dispenser cabinets across the country to install these devices and secretly record credit card information. Often, a criminal can use wireless technology to download the stolen information to a laptop.

The best way to protect your customers is to implement a program that deters criminals from installing skimmers, detects skimmers if they have been installed and trains your employees how to respond when they find suspicious devices.