Another wave of ATM fraud blowing from the West

Editor, Recently, my sister complained that someone had been withdrawing money from her account. When we contacted the Bank, we found out that someone was using a duplicate ATM card to withdraw money from her account. I later found out that a number of similar cases had been reported to the police. My sister had never shared her ATM card with anyone.

Editor,

Recently, my sister complained that someone had been withdrawing money from her account. When we contacted the Bank, we found out that someone was using a duplicate ATM card to withdraw money from her account. I later found out that a number of similar cases had been reported to the police. My sister had never shared her ATM card with anyone.

The question is, how did these fraudsters get the details to her ATM card?

These days a savvy fraudster need not physically steal your ATM card to access your account. Instead, the fraudster attaches an inconspicuous device to an automated teller machine (ATM) that copies a victim’s account information when he uses the compromised machine.

This form of Identity theft can have enormous consequences both to the bank and the ATM users. With more Banks setting up ATM machines to improve their services, criminal organizations from western developed countries are focusing on the “softer” targets in less developed countries because they have weaker ATM security protocol.

Fraudsters take advantage of the fact that in many African countries most ATM Machines can’t distinguish between genuine and counterfeit bank cards. The fraudster can withdraw cash at will with valid PINs and phony, but functional cards.

However if banks can adopt the European model of ATM transactions where an ATM must confirm a bank card’s authenticity before executing a transaction, then chances of being robbed will be lower. When a customer inserts his or her card, a microchip on it informs the ATM that the card is genuine before a customer can enter a valid PIN and make a transaction.

 Derick Kirunga,

dkirunga@toiff.com

 

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