Recent Agribank thefts may have featured skimming devices

12:33 | 29/04/2018

Skimming devices may have been used to steal money from 400 Agribank accounts, causing a huge stir recently.

recent agribank thefts may have featured skimming devices
A skimming device commonly used for stealing money

A set of skimming devices includes an ultra-small camera set up with a sighting on the ATM’s keypad, a card skimmer inserted into the card slot, and a keypad skimmer placed over the ATM’s keypad.

This equipment is used to appropriate the PIN code and card number of anyone using the ATM. Afterwards, the criminals will create fake cards and will start to stealing money via ATM withdrawals.

Some new skimming devices are designed to connect to Bluetooth, which means that while standing within 10 metres to the ATM criminals could steal data.

Not only ATMs, but points of sale (POS) equipment widely used in stores can also be rigged by skimming devices. With similar tricks, card holders' data can be quickly stolen.

recent agribank thefts may have featured skimming devices
Point of sale—a popular equipment in stores

In fact, this method is nothing new in Vietnam. For instance, according to newswire Tuoi Tre, on April 24, despite him making no transactions, Hoang Minh Tam (Hanoi) kept receiving notifications that VND94 million ($4,150) was withdrawn from his account through a Sacombank ATM in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. Previously, criminals also withdrew VND24.3 million ($1,070) from an Agribank account through an Techcombank ATM.

In April 2017, a team of Chinese high-tech criminals used 110 fake ATM cards and skimming devices to steal VND320 million ($14,096) in Hanoi. At the final withdrawal on April 23 at an ATM in Hanoi's South Tu Liem district, three of the criminals were arrested by the Vietnamese authorities.

According to CNBC, skimming methods are becoming more popular and sophisticated. An estimated $2 billion per year is stolen by this trick.

The Ministry of Public Security’s C50 Division has arrested dozens of suspects on charges of criminal theft and identity theft in ATM and bank card-related crimes between 2015 and 2017, with damages ranging from hundreds to billions of VND.

C50 also stated that most thieves who steal money by using skimming devices are of foreign nationalities, including China, Malaysia, Bulgaria, the UK, and the Netherlands. They commonly target large cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Haiphong.

CNBC also stated that card manufacturers and banks are studying a move from magnetic cards to safer chips. However, even with chip cards, there are no guarantees that high-technology criminals will not be able to steal money by more sophisticated methods.

Van Anh

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