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The European ATM Security Team has published its third European Fraud Update for 2012. It reveals that America still ranks first for skimming fraud, and also finds that fraudsters are shifting their attention from markets where EMV is used to those where it is not — meaning that the U.S. is likely to retain its dubious distinction for some time.

The update is based on crime reports from representatives of 18 countries in the single euro payments area, as well as representatives of three non-SEPA countries. Reports were entered at the 28th EAST meeting held in Dublin on Oct. 3, 2012.

All but four countries reported continued skimming attacks at ATMs. Five countries reported decreases; three reported increases. Criminals continue to use high quality skimming devices, with PINs collected by cameras hidden in moulded overlays or panels.  In addition to ATMs, skimming was reported at unattended payment terminals at petrol stations, and at parking ticket machines, railway ticket machines and POS terminals.

Fraud losses continue to migrate away from EMV liability shift areas.  From January to September 2012, such losses were reported in 54 countries and territories outside of the single euro payments area and in 15 countries within SEPA.  The U.S. remains the top location for such losses, followed by Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. 

Card issuers are continuing to take measures to block the use of payment cards outside of designated EMV liability shift areas. Eight countries now report the use of some form of geo-blocking.

Fifteen countries reported cash-trapping incidents, but such attacks seem to be stabilizing or falling in most countries. Criminals most often use the method of inserting a fork or claw device into the cash dispense slot during a normal transaction.

Eight countries reported ram raids and ATM burglary — in many cases these were unsuccessful, but still caused significant collateral damage.

For more on this topic, visit the security research center.

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