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ATM fraud rose in 2013, so how do you spot a suspect machine?

The number of ‘card trapping’ incidents rose to 113 this year, compared to 9 in 2012.

Keypad of an ATM
Keypad of an ATM
Image: William Groothink via Flickr/Creative Commmons

THE NUMBER OF incidents of ATM fraud rose in 2013 with ‘card trapping’ becoming significantly more common, rising from 9 the year previous, to 113 so far this year.

Of these, only 72 were successful.

These crimes were spread almost nationwide, occurring in 23 counties, and centred on Dublin and Cork.

The figures, supplied by the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO), show that following a crackdown on card skimming in 2012, the number of incidents rose again this year.

While the number of these incidents reported fell from 194 to 13 in 2012, they quadrupled to 75 (70 successful) this year.


Cash trapping remained a problem, although remained at similar levels to 2012.

“Banks in Ireland and in Europe have tried out many different solutions to prevent these types of attack” Member Services Executive with the IPSO Erica McKinney explained.

They can be temporarily successful but the criminal will eventually adjust their method to find a way around the solution.

But how do you spot a machine that has been tampered with?

Fraudsters manufacture skimming devices to match individual machines, McKinney said, and this can make them difficult to spot.

While they are often of good quality, fitting them isn’t an exact science. A sticky residue can sometimes be seen around the edges of the device as it must be glued on.

They work by ‘skimming’ the card for information, stored on the black magnetic strip on the back, when it is inserted into the machine.

Below are two examples of these devices:



However, the IPSO describes the information stored on the magnetic strip is of “limited use” without PIN details, and so these devices are often complimented with a camera fitted above the ATM’s keypad, like this one:


Read: Elderly people warned about ATM scam gang earlier this year >

More: AIB loses money on ATM withdrawals >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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