Cash trapping drives 69% increase in European ATM fraud attacks

Source: East

EAST (the European ATM Security Team) has reported a 69% increase in ATM related fraud attacks, primarily driven by a surge in reported cash trapping activity across eleven countries.

Total incidents increased from 6,649 in the first six months of 2010, to 11,220 for the first six months of 2011 (of which 6,756 were due to cash trapping). During a cash trapping attack criminals prevent cash from a genuine transaction being dispensed - and then remove it when the cardholder has left the ATM. Over the same period incidences of card skimming fell by 33% to the lowest level since 2008.

Losses due to ATM related fraud attacks have fallen by 28% from €144 million to €112 million. This fall is driven by a continued reduction in losses due to card skimming attacks, which fell 22% from €143 million to €111 million.

EAST Director and Coordinator Lachlan Gunn said, "While there has been a significant surge in cash trapping activity, related losses were less than €0.5million, or just 0.4% of total reported fraud related losses. While some cash trapping losses may not have been reported, criminals are limited to actual customer withdrawal amounts for this form of attack. The increase in cash trapping activity almost certainly reflects the success of European ATM deployers and card issuers in tackling skimming related crime, for which reported losses have fallen for the past seven reporting periods. Criminals may be shifting their focus as cash trapping can succeed in the EMV or Chip and PIN environment, although counter-measures are being rolled out."

The majority (77%) of ATM related card skimming losses continue to be international (losses outside national borders by criminals using stolen card details) with most occurring in countries outside of Europe. The risk of counterfeit EMV cards being used to withdraw cash fraudulently from ATMs in parts of the world that are not EMV compliant remains high and is leading some European card issuers to implement additional security measures such as regional card blocking.

Physical attacks on European ATMs, have fallen by 21% when compared with the first six months of 2010 (down from 1,087 to 857 incide57 incidents). Despite this fall in the overall number of incidents the number of reported explosive and gas attacks (219) has gone up for the third successive reporting period, and is up 90% when compared to the first six months of 2010. Overall losses fell 13% to €14 million (down from €16 million for the first 6 months of 2010).

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