Designers unite to fight ATM fraud

Designers unite to fight ATM fraud

Proximity-activated sound sensors, laser-illuminated privacy zones, and low tech omni-directional mirrors and secrecy shutters are among a host of new design ideas developed by students at St Martin's College of Art to help tackle ATM crime.

The Design Against ATM Crime exhibition at Central Saint Martins College in London (16-21st June) showcases the work of design students, as well as artists and design research staff.

Working to a brief to create new and cost-effective remedies to shoulder-surfing and card skimming, most of the designs ideas centred around the development of "defensible" space around the machine. The exhibition includes the concept of proximity-activated sound sensors to alert users if they aren't covering their PIN or if someone is standing too close. Other concepts promote the use of laser-delineated queue barriers, and rear-view mirrors mounted on the ATM fascia.

Taking the ideas from the exhibition, RBS has agreed to work with NCR, Link, and the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit to trial ATM art on the streets of Camden and Westminster to evaluate whether safety zones can reduce crime by raising ATM users' awareness. Previous trials in Manchester and Hammersmith suggest redefining the space that users take for granted does help reduce crimes such as shoulder surfing, remote surveillance, ATM fraud and pick pocketing.

Ben Birtwistle, manager ATM fraud control, Royal Bank of Scotland, says: "Our collaboration with the Design Against Crime Research Centre and The Met has resulted in the development of a unique and innovative opportunity to tackle ATM crime, driving positive customer behaviours and heightened awareness. We feel we are in the early stages of what could prove to be a successful crime prevention partnership."

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