ATM fraud involves various schemes to illegally obtain cash, card information, or both from automated teller machines (ATMs).

It can occur in several ways:

  1. Skimming: One of the most common methods, skimming involves attaching a device to the ATM’s card slot. When a card is inserted, the skimmer records all the details stored on the card’s magnetic stripe. Thieves use this data to clone cards or make unauthorized transactions.
  2. Card Trapping: This method involves using a mechanism that physically traps a user’s card in the ATM machine. Once the cardholder leaves the machine assuming the card is retained by the ATM, the fraudster retrieves the trapped card and steals it.
  3. PIN Capturing: Criminals might use hidden cameras or shoulder surfing to capture a user’s PIN as it is entered. This information, along with the data obtained from skimming, can be used to access the victim’s bank account.
  4. Cash Trapping: Here, thieves attach a device to an ATM that traps the cash dispensed by the machine. The users leave, thinking the machine is malfunctioning and not dispensing cash, after which the fraudsters come back and remove the trapped cash.
  5. Fake ATMs: In rarer cases, criminals might install completely fake ATMs at public locations. When cards are used at these machines, the card details and PIN are recorded.
  6. ATM Malware and Logical Attacks: Fraudsters install malware on ATMs to intercept card data or manipulate the machine’s operations, often using a physical interface (like a USB stick) to load the malware.
  7. Network Interception: This sophisticated form of ATM fraud involves intercepting the communications between ATMs and the banking network, allowing thieves to steal card data or alter transaction values.

To protect against ATM fraud, consumers are advised to use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations, cover the keypad when entering their PIN, and regularly check their bank statements for unauthorized transactions. Banks and other financial institutions also employ various security measures, including advanced encryption methods and fraud monitoring systems, to protect against such attacks.

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