Date Added: Apr. 17, 2002
Crime is an unfortunate element of modern society and it becomes more frightening as criminals embrace and exploit the very technology that is supposed to make our lives easier. Rumors of sophisticated scams to separate unsuspecting banking customers from their accounts at the ATM have some basis in fact, but like most e-mail rumors, are blown out of proportion.
Beware the next time you use an ATM
Criminals are inventing ever more ingenious methods of relieving you of your cash.
The latest scam involves thieves putting a thin, clear, rigid plastic'sleeve' into the ATM card slot. When you insert your card, the machine can't read the strip, so it keeps asking you to re-enter your PIN number. Meanwhile, someone behind you watches as you tap in your number. Eventually you give up, thinking the machine has swallowed your card and you walk away. The thieves then remove the plastic sleeve complete with card, and empty your account. The way to avoid this is to run your finger along the card slot before you put your card in. The sleeve has a couple of tiny prongs that the thieves need to get the sleeve out of the slot, and you'll be able to feel them. The police would like as many people as possible to be aware of this scam, so pass this on to your friends & colleagues.
In late 2004, another, unrelated chain surfaced, describing a high-tech version of the scam, complete with photos.
Let me kbow if anyone has seen this message before...
This is IMPORTANT to look out for!
Bank ATM's Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers
A team of organized criminals are installing equipment on legitimate bank ATM's in at least 2 regions to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM (see photos). If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM.
The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN are cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer" is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.
At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.
The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.
Tell more people
The scams described in both chains employs a technique commonly known as the "Lebanese Loop." Basically, the criminal captures your ATM card (or the numbers off of it) then uses varying types of trickery to nail down the second piece of the puzzle - your personal information number (or PIN). The first chain, describing the simple version using a plastic sleeve and a little "shoulder-surfing" has been circulating since 2002. Some versions name specific banks or claim to come from various law enforcement agencies, but these attributions are often false.
Criminals do not shy away from technology and the second chain above shows this in brilliant color. The photos are real and the accompanying text is basically accurate. The potos depict an Automatic Teller Machine in Brazil, but similar schemes have been reported in the U.S., Canada, China and Malaysia.
There are a variety of crimes involving ATM machines, ranging from slight of hand, misdirection, harassment to armed robbery. High-tech or no-tech, some people will stop at nothing to separate you from your hard-earned cash. You can keep yourself and your savings safe by exercizing some common sense at the cash machine:
Avoid forwarding chain letters that do more to alarm than inform. Break this chain!