Skimming - a way criminals use high-tech electronic tools to capture personal financial information and steal money from automated teller machine (ATM) customers - is one of the financial industry's fastest-growing crimes, according to the U.S. Secret Service.
Also, the worldwide ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) reports over $1 billion in annual global losses from credit card fraud and electronic crime associated with ATMs.
"But perhaps the most significant skimming cost to financial institutions is the damage to their reputation and the loss of customer confidence that accompanies the theft of personal financial information," said Hank Monaco, vice president for ADT Security Services.
ADT is introducing to North American financial institutions its Anti-Skim(TM) ATM Security Solution that helps prevent skimming attempts and detects skimming devices on all major ATM makes and models.
In a matter of seconds, criminals can place a skimming device on an ATM card reader that blends in with the machine's appearance and does not interfere with its operation. A small wireless camera, concealed near the ATM fascia, is also used to capture the user's personal identification number (PIN) as it is entered. Information from the device and camera is sent wirelessly to the criminal's laptop computer. The ATM user typically has no idea that his or her information has been compromised.
Criminals use the stolen data to "cash out" debit card accounts, clone duplicate credit-debit cards or sell personal financial information to worldwide crime syndicates. Several high-volume transaction ATMs in an area can be targeted in just one day.
Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said identity theft and related offenses such as ATM skimming are a serious concern in the community. Boca Raton Police will begin a campaign through its Viper program to help raise awareness among residents. Tips will include how to protect your identity from criminals.
"The Strike Out Identity Theft campaign is a perfect example of how community partners such as ADT can work in conjunction with law enforcement to help protect the public," Alexander said.
To help reduce ATM skimming, the ADT solution is installed inside an ATM near the card reader, making it invisible from the outside. The technology helps prevent card-skimming attempts by interrupting the operation of the illegal card reader. The solution also detects the presence of foreign devices placed over or near an ATM card entry slot, without disrupting the customer transaction or operation of most ATMs. For effective, layered ATM security, the ADT solution can trigger a silent alarm for command center response and can coordinate video surveillance of all skimming activities.
The ADT Anti-Skim ATM Security Solution:
• Helps protect the integrity of cardholders' personal financial information during ATM transactions.
• Can trigger a silent alarm for command center response and coordinate video surveillance of all skimming activities.
• Requires no software adjustments to the ATM.
• Does not connect to or affect the ATM communications network.
• Has more than 40,000 successful ATM applications worldwide.
ATM operators should take advantage of anti-skimming solutions, according to Lana Harmelink, ATMIA's chief executive officer, the Americas.
"Skimming is a problem that will continue to grow until available technology is employed to bring it under control," she said. "The technology exists today to help defeat the problem."
Monaco said a recent study by Harris Interactive reported that 67 percent of U.S. adults who use financial institutions with ATMs would likely switch after experiencing ATM fraud or a data breach.
"This survey highlights the important role that the ADT Anti-Skim ATM Security Solution can play in helping secure consumer confidence in ATM transactions," he said. "ADT already helps to protect tens of thousands of retail banking facilities, operations centers and ATM operations with a variety of intrusion, access control and video surveillance systems. Our new anti-skim solution adds another layer of protection for financial institutions."