18 Sep 2009 15:04

ATM crime up 50% during crisis

MOSCOW. Sept 18 (Interfax) - Crimes targeting ATMs have risen 50% since the onset of the global financial crisis, the head of Alfa Bank's department for payment system interaction, Alexei Golenishchev, told Interfax.

"The number of crimes have increased since the crisis, by somewhere around 50%," he said.

The basic scheme remains the same. Perpetrators attach equipment to ATM keyboards and card readers in order to record keystrokes and collect confidential card data. The illicit equipment is mainly made in China.

"The current hotspots are Moscow and St. Petersburg," he said. "Just this week we removed nine sets of illicit equipment," he said.

Often the perpetrators will install a camera in order to pick up PIN codes. They might also install recording equipment inside the ATM or try to reprogram the machine itself so that it decodes and transmits card data.

Losses from crimes associated with plastic cards tripled last year to about 1 billion rubles, according to data from the Association of Russian Regional Banks.