Are Cash Traps the New Card Skimmers?

There's no shortage of ingenious card skimmers out on the streets to part you from your cash. But there might be a new, more direct breed of scam in town: a simple cash trap.

Krebs on Security is reporting that a number of security experts are reporting a dramatic rise in the use of new—but simple—devices used by crooks on ATMs. In particular, the European ATM Security Team (EAST) is warning that card and cash traps are becoming rife. EAST explains the card trap:

Spring traps are still being widely used. Once the card has been inserted, these prevent the card being returned to the customer and also stop the ATM from retracting it. According to reports from one country – despite warning messages that appear on the ATM screen or are displayed on the ATM fascia – customers are still not reporting when their cards are captured, leading to substantial losses from ATM or point-of-sale
transactions.

Elsewhere, cash traps are gaining traction. Often strange claw-like implements, they're inserted into the cash-dispensing slot and are capable of "capturing or skimming some of the dispensed bills", Krebs explains. Some are a little more advanced than others, and can be hidden almost entirely in the machine, meaning that customers are often unaware of the problem and assume there's just a fault with the ATM.

Fork-like devices have also been used to keep cash dispenser slots open after normal ATM transactions—and European thieves managed to steal more than a million Euros from French cash machines this year using that technique alone.

All of which makes it difficult for consumers to avoid the scams. As ever, the best advice is to be wary of suspicious looking ATMs, and report any card losses or undelivered cash as soon as possible. [EAST and Krebs on Security]

Images by Catatronic and EAST

Are Cash Traps the New Card Skimmers?

Are Cash Traps the New Card Skimmers?