A New Wave of ATM Scams Forces FIA to Take Action

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is conducting an inquiry under the Cyber Crime Act after 500 customers of banks all across Pakistan complained of ATM scams.

The situation is very disturbing. In November 2017 alone, around 100 ATM cards were compromised — a startling Rs. 37 million were stolen from 24 banks.

Several people, including a health worker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have expressed their distress. 

I have no idea what to do. — a citizen who lost Rs. 100,000 after he used his ATM card in Rawalpindi.

ATM Security Is Becoming A Concern

The Institute of Bankers, Pakistan held a seminar to discuss possible ways to avoid theft via ATM machines. Officials blamed banks for putting off the implementation of ATM safety guidelines.

Cyber security experts say that users should hide the keypad as they enter pin codes. The State Bank of Pakistan had also announced a free SMS alert service to notify users of transactions in their accounts.

Officials were baffled over how compromised ATMs could be used for payments abroad. Around a dozen Pakistani ATM burglars who had collaborated with hackers in Europe and Southeast Asia were arrested last month. The FIA has also launched investigations link elements in other countries across the globe.

Sneaky Methods

ATM burglars usually place a tiny gadget over the cardreader to record account information from the magnetic strip. Other methods include: fake card-readers, fake keypads, fake displays and even hidden cameras to record the user’s pincode.