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US customers top target for ATM fraud

ATMs accepting microchips are gaining popularity as they prevent skimming crimes.
ATMs accepting microchips are gaining popularity as they prevent skimming crimes.

Lack of technological innovation has caused ATM users in the United States to face a higher risk of ATM theft. More customers have found themselves the victim of ATM skimmers as more criminals are stealing bank card information and PIN numbers from rigged machines.

According to a new report from CNBC, security experts say that this form of bank-fraud will continue in the U.S. because banks and merchants are balking at replacing outdated magnetic-strip card systems. European machines have widely adopted the microchip embedded cards, which eliminates the magnetic-strip from the equation.

"It's all going to migrate [to the U.S.] because the account information [on] magnetic strip cards is very easily copied," said Frank Rudewicz, head of the Forensic and Investigative division for accounting and consulting firm Marcum.

There has been some movement in the U.S. on the microchip enabled card front, as well as the potential for smartphone and cloud combined ATM solutions that would essentially do away with the current form of skimming and make it much more difficult for this kind of crime to continue.

A victim of a skimmer himself, Rudewicz knows this crime can happen to anyone, anywhere and speaks on avoiding this felony. Implementing microchip or cloud technology, however, can prevent these incidents.

According to Julie McNelley, research director and fraud analyst at Aite Group, the average total amount skimmed per ATM is now about $50,000. She went on to say skimming has "turned from two-penny crooks to an organized crime."

Despite the growing threat of skimming, vigilant ATM owners can take a couple simple steps to ensure their customers do not fall victim to fraud. Keeping the machine in view of employees and checking it regularly for any oddities goes a long way to preventing skimming crimes.

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