EU agency 'alarmed' by rise in cash machine fraud

EU agency 'alarmed' by rise in cash machine fraud

European security agency Enisa is calling on banks and law enforcement agencies in EU member states to raise awareness of cash machine safety issues following an alarming 149% rise in ATM attacks in 2008.

With the annual cost of ATM crime in Europe approaching EUR500 million, the European Network and Information Security Agency is urging consumers to be more aware of the risks and take precautions to avoid personal loss.

During 2008 alone, notes Enisa, a total of 10,302 skimming incidents were reported in Europe. Other methods used to extract money include trapping and then retrieving users' cards, stopping withdrawals in the middle of a transaction only to complete them when the victim has left and even trapping cash in the machine.

Organised criminal gangs are also using sophisticated phishing techniques and hacking into bank computer systems and web sites to obtain PIN and account information, says the agency.

ATM burglaries and physical attacks have also seen an increase by 32% over the last 12 months from ram raids and explosions to the use of rotary saws, thermal lances and diamond drills.

Andrea Pirotti, executive director at Enisa says: "Looking ahead, ATM crime is likely to become even more attractive as the latest generation of ATMs is designed to dispense other services and products such as phone top ups and stamps. The first line of defence against ATM crime is increasing awareness of the risks so that users can take simple precautions such as shielding their PIN when entering it and by keeping alert to any signs of tampering or suspicious activity at an ATM."

Enisa has published a paper - 'ATM Crime: Overview of the European situation and golden rules on how to avoid it' - which offers a list of Golden Rules to maximise protection, and recommends that further information and advice are provided nationally in EU Member States by banks, financial institutions, payment schemes and law enforcement agencies.

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