ATM skimming costs American financial institutions about $1 billion annually. It’s a worldwide problem, but the U.S. is particularly vulnerable due to the magnetic stripe on the back of ATM/debit cards that stores personal financial information.
Skimmers attach well-disguised devices to an ATM that allows them to read that information and wirelessly send it to a laptop computer. Many European countries are converting from the mag stripe to embedded microchips that are not as easy to skim. But the time and cost of converting millions of ATM cards has stalled any such change in this country.
Time magazine recently took a look at the problems caused by skimming. The article included information from John Pearce, ADT’s commercial marketing director, about a technology the company offers that can detect a skimming device, disrupt the transmission of information to a data thief and alert bank security to the situation.
“We’ve installed this on over 1,000 ATMs for a major national bank,” Pearce said.
There’s still a long way to go to protect the roughly 400,000 ATMs in the U.S., but until the card technology is changed, the ADT technology offers the best solution for slowing this costly crime.Leave a comment