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Malaysian crime syndicate behind Australian ATM scam

19 November 2002  |  6030 views  |  0 ATM

A Malaysian crime syndicate was behind the ATM card skimming scam which is believed to have netted over A$500,000 from Australian cardholders.

It now emerges that the crooks used skimming devices and pinhole cameras to capture cardholder data from St George Bank ATMs in Sydney and Commonwealth Bank machines in Melbourne during a six week period in early October and November. The fraud was initially believed to have been concentrated in Sydney.

Police say they have arrested one member of the gang but not before A$180,000 had already been transferred to Malaysia.

The perpetration of the fraud has opened debate in Australia about the best methods to crack down on counterfeit card fraud. ANZ in association with Visa is currently introducing a new chip-based credit card, which offers protection against illegal copying. However, there is no national scheme in place to convert debit cards to chip technology and a full-scale migration would likely take many years.

An alternative solution is available from MasterCard, which recently reported successful beta test results from a national trial with four Malaysian banks of technology designed to detect the use of counterfeit magstripe cards at the point-of-sale.

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