Payment Card Skimming
on the Rise
April 10, 2017
The number of payment
cards compromised at U.S. ATMs and merchants monitored by FICO rose 70
percent in 2016, Silicon Valley analytic software firm FICO reported
today. The number of hacked card readers at U.S. ATMs, restaurants and
merchants rose 30 percent in 2016.
The number of compromises recorded in 2016 set a new high for the FICO
Card Alert Service, which monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs and
other readers in the US. This new data follows a 546 percent increase in
compromised ATMs from 2014 to 2015.
As in 2015, the most compromises occurred at non-bank ATMs, such as
those in convenience stores. About 60 percent of compromises were at
non-bank ATMs, with the rest occurring at bank ATMs or point-of-sale
(POS) devices, such as card payment machines at retailers. These figures
cover only card fraud occurring at physical devices, not online card
The average duration of a compromise continued to fall — on average, an
ATM or POS device would be compromised for 11 days, compared to 14 days
in 2015. The 2016 average duration is less than a third of the average
duration in 2014, 36 days. The average number of cards affected by a
single compromise was cut in half.
“As the last few years have proven, skimming technology and knowhow have
improved and are more accessible to the general population, so we will
continue to see increases in compromises and the speed at which they
occur,” said TJ Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO. "With
some of the confusion we still have at various POS checkout locations,
it's still important for consumers to be on alert. FICO’s Card Alert
Service is dedicated to detecting fraud faster and reporting compromises
so our customers can mitigate their losses.”
detected 70 percent more compromised debit cards at U.S.
ATMs and merchant card readers in 2016, according to new
of ATMs and merchant devices in the US rose 30 percent,
following a six-fold increase in 2015
- The average
duration of a compromise fell from 14 days in 2015 to 11
Cardholders should employ common sense when using ATMs, and
check their transactions frequently
- FICO® Card
Alert Service monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs in the
FICO offers these
tips for consumers:
If an ATM
looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly,
consider going somewhere else for your cash.
approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby. Never engage
in conversations with others around an ATM. Remain in your
automobile until other ATM users have left the ATM.
- If your
plastic card is captured inside of an ATM, call your card
issuer immediately to report it. Sometimes you may think
that your card was captured by the ATM when in reality it
was later retrieved by a criminal who staged its capture.
Either way, you will need to arrange for a replacement card
as soon as possible.
- Ask your
card issuer for a new card number if you suspect that your
payment card may have been compromised at a merchant,
restaurant or ATM. It’s important to change both your card
number and your PIN whenever you experience a potential
theft of your personal information.
- Check your
card transactions frequently, using online banking and your
- Ask your
card provider if they offer account alert technology that
will deliver SMS text communications or emails to you in the
event that fraudulent activity is suspected on your payment
- Update your
address and cell phone information for every card you have,
so that you can be reached if there is ever a critical
situation that requires your immediate attention.