JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The number of ATM skimming incidents involving U.S. locations serviced by independent operators remains very low, according to a new survey just released by the National ATM Council Inc. NAC's "2017 U.S. Retail ATM Skimming Survey" was designed to determine the level and nature of card-skimming activity perpetrated with devices that insert into an ATM's card slot. Attackers may also place a hidden camera somewhere in the vicinity with a view of the number pad in order to record PINs. Some criminals might install a fake PIN pad over the actual keyboard to capture the PIN directly, eliminating the need for a camera.
Respondents to this year's survey comprised 151 ATM companies representing a diverse sampling of the total U.S. retail ATM base. About 70% of those responding have been in the ATM business for a decade or more, NAC said.
Nine out of 10 survey participants reported never having encountered a skimming device on their ATM routes. Some 89% told NAC they have protocols in place that include regular checks of their ATM terminals. About 87% of the surveyed ATM deployers said they provide customers with a phone number to call in case of any irregularities at their machines.
Only four rspondents reported seeing six or more instances of skimming activity on their routes, compared with two respondents in 2016. Although that number doubled, the total remains minuscule among the tens of thousands of ATMs and millions of transactions covered by the survey.
"NAC has long anticipated some level of increase in skimming at independent ATMs during the transition to EMV chip card technology now underway for all ATMs in the U.S.," said NAC executive director Bruce Renard. "Data we have seen from other countries indicates increased skimming activity during this migration period. We are pleased that the vast majority of retail ATMs in the U.S. has remained free from skimming activity thus far."
NAC's survey is the latest part of the volley in a back-and-forth between the trade association and FICO, which recently claimed the vast majority of skimming devices were implanted in retail ATMs. FICO has since issued clarification on the matter, noting the overall rarity of skimming.
“Especially in light of these most recent survey results, NAC appreciates FICO's clarification of its recent report on card fraud at retail ATMs, making clear that the number of actual card skimming incidents for nonbank ATMs remains very low," said NAC chairman George Sarantopoulos, Access One Solutions (Brooklyn, NY). "NAC was concerned with the way FICO originally presented its data and with the headlines it generated, giving consumers the erroneous impression that card skimming was rampant at retail ATMs. We as ATM operators know firsthand, as confirmed by the latest survey data, that retail ATMs are one of the safest places to get your cash, and card skimming at these ATM terminals remains extremely rare."