Thieves Have Begun To Target Credit Union ATMs For Skimming Devices

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio-One executive who spoke to Credit Union Journal warned that just because the big banks have gotten better about protecting their ATMs from skimming devices doesn't mean that those criminals "drop their criminal devices and go get day jobs; they continue to use those devices, but in different places."

In other words, at credit unions, said Chuck Somers, VP of ATM security and systems at Diebold. And despite media coverage of the matter, most consumers are still unaware of the problem. So the impetus is on the credit union to protect the machine, since a consumer may not be attuned to notice something out of the ordinary.

While there is no silver bullet to solve the skimming problem, Somers said that a multi-layered approach can best protect the institution.

"Really this has to do with risk assessment and what types of locations you've chosen to put your ATMs in and what types of risk are inherent in those locations," said Sommers, noting that certain types of machines get attacked more regularly than others-such as drive-up ATMs versus a machine in the institution's lobby. He observed that credit unions often put plenty of thought into the most convenient places for the machines, but said that that doesn't always mean those locations are the most secure.

He added that a clear internal policy is crucial-including information on what to do and who to contact when a suspicious device is found on an ATM. And, of course, member education.

"One of the things that you want to talk to your members about is if a card is somehow compromised and used by a criminal to take out funds, who suffers loss?" said Somers. "I would submit that it's either the member or the credit union that suffers." He added that while most credit unions do reimburse members who are victims of skimming, the harm to the CU is twofold: "It's not just the loss of the consumer confidence and trust, but the real outlay of funds that occurs."

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