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ATM theft on the rise in Switzerland

Meritxell Mir · 3 Nov 2011, 11:53

Published: 03 Nov 2011 14:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Nov 2011 11:53 GMT+01:00

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Fraudsters have stolen more than 9.2 million francs through doctored ATMs since January, Swiss federal authorities have said. 

In the first three quarters of the year, 225 ATM machines were manipulated by criminals in Switzerland, a significant rise on the 135 cases recorded in all of 2010.

Using special equipment, swindlers copy the magnetic strips on credit and debit cards, using the data contained in the strips to create ”cloned” cards.

Even though the number of manipulated ATM machines has increased — and thieves have managed to steal more than 9 million francs ($10.2 million) in ten months — the number of skimming cases has gone down slightly, from two to three cases a week last year, to two in 2011.

The skimming data was provided by Alain Bichsel, spokesman for SIX Card Solutions, a company that specialises in bank transfers.

Bichsel says both customers and banks are increasingly aware of skimming, and that new systems of credit card protection have helped reduce the number of cases.

Story continues below…

Checks have been strengthened and processes to block compromised cards have improved. As Bichsel told news agency ATS, credit cards are immediately cancelled when the system identifies that they have been used in Switzerland and in another country within a short period of time. The same happens when cards have been used in manipulated ATMs.

In addition, banks will soon have a new weapon in the fight against this kind of scam. SIX Card Solutions has developed a tool that allows bank customers to block their cards in some countries like the United States, the Dominican Republic, Russia and Ukraine. Cloned cards are mainly used in these countries because ATMs there continue to read data from the magnetic strip on the card’s rear rather than from the embedded chip, as is done in Switzerland.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2011-11-03 16:51:44 by HoppSuisse
Look very carefully at every ATM machine you use to be sure it has not been tampered with. Thieves put a sleeve in the card slot to read your card. Also becareful to shield your pin code when you enter it. Try to use machines that are inside buildings and places where it is difficult for thieves to plant their equipment. It would be helpful if, along with these stories, a solution was also published. HoppSuisse
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