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ATM thieves steal Bt10m over past year

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ATM thieves steal Bt10m over past year

Published on October 08, 2004

Over Bt10 million was stolen from ATM machines in the past year by sophisticated thieves who illegally withdrew money using a high-tech device called a “skimmer”, the Bank of Thailand said yesterday.

The bandits stole deposits from the bank accounts of unwitting ATM customers by attaching “skimmers” to machines to copy information from their cards

and then looking over their shoulders to get their secret PIN (personal identification number).

The central bank, who said the Bt10 million was stolen between the third quarter of last year to July this year, yesterday circulated a press release warning the public about the ATM bandits.

“ATM users lost their money because bandits withdrew their money or transferred their money to other accounts,” a bank source said yesterday.

“Some of them lost millions of baht because of this. This kind of crime mostly happens to the elderly or those who live in remote provinces.” The central bank said it had warned the public about the crime before, but it still occurs occasionally.

Thieves attach the small skimmer inside the ATM card slot before customers use it, the bank said.

When customers insert their cards into the slot the skimmer automatically copies information from the cards’ magnetic stripe. The thieves then look over the customers’ shoulder to get their secret PIN.

The thieves can create a fake ATM card from the information gleaned from the magnetic stripe and use the PIN to access customers’ deposits.

The bank said customers can see the skimmer clearly if they take a close look at the card slot. They are advised to contact the bank immediately if they see anything suspicious attached to ATM machines.

Some thieves also try to convince ATM users, mostly the elderly, to give them their cards so that they can help them use the machines. When they use the cards, they are actually copying information onto the skimmer.

Anoma Srisukkasem

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