ATM Fraud is as old as the teller machines themselves and has overwhelmingly devastating results on the victims.
The act refers to criminals developing means to intercept both the data on the card’s magnetic strip as well as the user’s (personal identity number) PIN. This information is used by the fraudsters to create fake cards that are then used to withdraw funds from the unsuspecting individual’s account.
Criminals have developed various means to defraud unsuspecting victims who only realise the event after it has long passed. Techniques developed by these seasoned criminals include among others card jam, where the machine has been tampered with deliberately with the intention of getting the card stuck.
Other techniques include general violence, which involves actual physical attacks on victims and damaged ATM, whereby there is damage to the defence mechanism of the teller machine making money easily accessible.
Altered ATM is another technique that involves placing objects on the original machine in a manner that makes it seem as if they are genuine if there is no close inspection.
Rutang Moses, Head of Compliance and Assurance at Standard Chartered Bank, said: “we have robust controls and measures in place to ensure that we protect our customers savings and safety when using Standard Chartered Bank’s ATMs. We have as one the measures security personnel manning all our ATMs”.
Ultimately the prevention and detection of ATM Fraud lies in the hands of customers themselves by taking proactive and vigilant measures in safeguarding their cards and PINs. Financial institutions can supplement the above efforts by customers via the provision of safety information and tips.
Various guidelines that financial institutions impart include placing low monthly limits on cards, keeping your pin secret including people close to you and away from prying eyes, exercising caution and vigilance when making transactions, avoiding help and distractions at ATMs, ensuring that card is yours after completion of transaction, being weary of damaged machines in your local area, reporting lost or stolen cards immediately both to the bank and law enforcement authorities and observing for any alterations to machines.
The above measures are not a numerus clausus and can be supplemented with further initiatives such as the safe-keeping of withdrawn cash before you walk away from the ATM, disposing of mini-statements or receipts if you requested for them.
Other initiatives include using ATMs in well-lit, high traffic areas, having the ATM card ready and in hand to avoid delays at the transaction point and carefully covering the keypad when entering your PIN while at the same time being conscious of where the security cameras are located.
It is also imperative that customers are weary of offers for help even if these are seemingly from an official as there are cases where fraudsters wear clothes of financial institutions.
Further measures that can be employed in the fight against ATM fraud include reconciling your bank account on a monthly basis and notifying your bank of any discrepancies immediately, as well as exercising due diligence at all material times.