While there is no uniform standard in America for tabulating the incidence of crime against ATM users, the U.S. Department of Justice has estimated that such attacks occur at a proportion as low as 1 in 3.5 million transactions.
At this rate, the average American is in greater danger of being hit by a bus while crossing the street to get to an ATM than of being accosted while using it.
ATM transaction data, on the other hand, has proven far more difficult to protect — as we've seen in recent ATM skimming events that have netted millions of dollars within minutes for determined thieves.
Indeed, since banks began putting cash in ATMs in the 1960s, criminal minds have been hard at work trying to find ways to get it back out. And ATM manufacturers have been hard at work trying to prevent them from doing so.
Today, ATMs are equipped with all manner of innovative technologies to foil skimming crime — signal jammers, card jitter devices, motion detectors, fascia protectors and more.
But there's only so much the industry can do to protect consumers from crooks. And the fact remains that cardholders are perhaps their own best protection against skimming fraud.
Observant consumers who look for signs of tampering before using an ATM and who take care that no one gets a look at their PIN as it is entered can easily reduce their vulnerability to account compromise at the ATM.
The problem? Many consumers are unaware that simple actions on their part can save them the time and hassle of trying to recover funds in the event of a card compromise. Indeed, a surprising number of cardholders don't even know what card skimming is or how it works.
To help consumers to help themselves, Diebold has created an infographic that ATM deployers can use to teach customers about ATM fraud. The information can be distributed as a flyer, mailer or email, posted online or at a machine — even displayed on the ATM screen itself.
If information is power, then it could be the key to empowering everyday accountholders to stop data skimming in its tracks.
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/ Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally. She is now the editor of ATMmarketplace.com and BlockChainTechNews.com