ATM Fraud Increasing Identity Theft Risk Asheville NC

Robert Siciliano is a Expert Guest BloggerAccording to a recent survey, ATM fraud is becoming increasingly common. 70% of financial institutions reported an increase in ATM and debit card fraud claims from 2007 to 2008, and those numbers are expected to rise even further.

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ATM Fraud Increasing Identity Theft Risk

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ATM fraud increases identity theft risk

Posted by Robert Siciliano on July 15th, 2009

Robert Siciliano is a Expert Guest Blogger

According to a recent survey , ATM fraud is becoming increasingly common. 70% of financial institutions reported an increase in ATM and debit card fraud claims from 2007 to 2008, and those numbers are expected to rise even further in 2009. Much of this new fraud has resulted from recent major data breaches, such as the TJX and Heartland hacks.

Hacking into a database and compromising cards numbers and PINs is not particularly difficult. It's even easier to affix hardware to the face of an ATM machine and skim the information off the magnetic strip. Once the data has been compromised, identity thieves clone cards and turn that data into cash as quickly as possible. recently published “ 7 Growing Threats to Financial Institutions .” In a similar vein, here are 7 growing threats to you.

  1. Skimming - This occurs when easily obtainable hardware is attached to the face of an ATM. The hardware records the user name, card number and PIN, and the user rarely notices the scam.
  2. Ghost ATMs - A card reader is blocked off and replaced with hardware that prevents a transaction and records user data.
  3. Dummy ATMs - An ATM is purchased, programmed to record data, and installed whereever there is foot traffic. These machines are often found on eBay and either powered by car batteries or plugged into a nearby outlet.
  4. PIN IDs - Sophisticated criminal hackers break into a database or skim magnetic strips. Then they use hacking software to plug in various commonly used PINs at an online banking site. When the software finds a match, the criminals gain access to another account.
  5. Automated PIN changes - Criminals use a bank's telephone system to changed a customer's PIN. They may attempt to change the customer's Automatic Number Identification through a system that telephone companies use to identify a caller's directory number. This can be accomplished via caller ID spoofing, in which criminals use a few pieces of the cardholder's personal information to verify them as a bank customer.
  6. SMS attacks - Also known as "smishing" or "phexting," these are phishing messages sent via text message. Texts usually appear to be from a bank, requesting the customer's user name and password.
  7. Malware - Researchers found a virus that specifically infects ATMs, takes over the machine and logs card numbers and PINs.

So how do you protect yourself? First and foremost, pay close attention to your bank statements and refute unauthorized transactions within 30 days. Pay close attention when using an ATM. Look for red flags, such as an odd looking configuration on the face of the machine, wires or double stick tape, or if your card seems to get stuck. Don't just use any ATM. Choose ATMs at secure locations. Use strong PINs. Combine numbers and upper and lowercase letters whenever possible. Delete phishing texts or emails immediately. Make sure that your Internet security software is up to date, and invest in identity theft protection . Because when all else fails, it's good to have someone watching your back.

Robert Siciliano, identity theft speaker, discusses ATM skimming .

Robert Siciliano is CEO of , an identity theft expert, professional speaker, security analyst, published author and television news correspondent. Siciliano works with Fortune 1000 companies and startups as an advisor on product launches, branding, messaging, representation, SEO and media. Siciliano's thoughts and advice on all these matters appear often in both the televised and print news media including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX, Forbes and USA Today. He has 25 years of security training as a member of the American Society of Industrial Security. He is the author of 2 books, including The Safety Minute: Living on High Alert; How to take control of your personal security and prevent fraud . He's also partnered with Uni-Ball to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and to provide tips on how you can protect yourself.

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