Bank of New Zealand caught in cross border ATM fraud

Bank of New Zealand caught in cross border ATM fraud

Cards skimmed from Bank of New Zealand ATMs have been used by criminals in Toronto, Canada to steal NZ$49,000 from customer accounts, in an incident that highlights the increasing globalisation of card crime.

In a statement BNZ says fraudsters targeted a stand alone machine located in Pakuranga Plaza in Auckland's eastern suburbs last month.

Around 60 cards are thought to have been compromised and the bank says information from cards used in the ATM was fraudulently used in Toronto, Canada.

Shona Bishop, general manager marketing and business development, BNZ, says: "We have been advised of suspect transactions on a small number of Bank of New Zealand customer accounts which suggest that fraudulent transactions were conducted offshore. A detailed analysis of the transactions led us back to the Pakuranga ATM."

BNZ has blocked the cards known to have been used at the Pakuranga Plaza ATM between 1 and 31 March. Transaction records show 3498 cards were used in the machine during this time, 2200 of which belong to Bank of New Zealand cardholders.

The bank said last week that fraudsters had targeted its machines in the New Lynn and Silverdale areas of Auckland. To date fraud arising from these earlier incidents is believed to be around $54,690, with 38 cards thought to have been compromised. The bank says it cancelled around 2000 ATM cards as a precautionary measure.

This latest skimming incident follows last month's news that Citibank had imposed transaction blocks on an unspecified number of US card accounts after fraudsters managed to steal customer's funds in a cross-border ATM scam.

The American bank said it was re-issuing cards following fraudulent ATM cash withdrawls in the UK, Russia and Canada on customer accounts that may have been compromised following a security breach at an undisclosed US retailer.

Following the New Zealand skimming scam, BNZ is rolling out anti-skimming security devices across its national ATM network. The bank says the security device, known as a 'green sleeve', makes it difficult to fit a skimming device over the ATM card reader, while a hologram embedded in the sleeve inhibits replication of the device. The bank expects to complete installation of the devices on all its ATMs within the next two months.

The bank has also said that, based on offending patterns and information provided by the police, its Diebold ATMs in Auckland may have been at risk of skimming fraud and it aims to replace all its Diebold units by 19th April.

The bank has already replaced six Diebold Model 1072 ATMs with new machines and has also removed a standalone unit.

Bishop says while the fraudsters have targeted this make and model of machine this time, international experience shows that all ATMs are at risk.

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