$500,000 stolen from bank accounts

As part of an elaborate $500,000 scam more than 5000 ATM cards have been skimmed in just four weeks.

The Herald Sun has reported that Police believe an international crime syndicate, operating out of Southern Europe is responsible for fitting at least four, skimming devices in ATM's in Melbourne's CBD and Southeastern suburbs.

One of these skimming devices was fitted to an ANZ ATM on the corner of Collins and Elizabeth streets in the city at different times during the past two months.

According to Det-Sen. Constable Brett Colley police believe that thieves have withdrawn more than $500,000 from accounts of unsuspecting ATM users. After reports of similar incidents interstate and overseas Victoria Police are working with the Australian Federal Police, NSW and Queensland Police and New Zealand Police.

These skimming devices record the user's card information and enable thieves to then access money in those bank accounts. The device is glued over the original ATM card slot, creating a fake slot that reads the magnetic strip on EFTPOS or credit card. A small digital camera in the device records the person's PIN. Criminals then access the information using either a mobile phone or a laptop and use it to create a fake card to withdraw money from other ATM's.

ANZ announced in a statement that they were notifying customers of the problem and advising them to have their cards replaced. There have been restrictions placed on the cards believed to be affected. The ANZ has informed customers affected by the fraud that they would be reimbursed.

The ANZ bank has also warned other banks of the scam and advised non-ANZ customers who believe their accounts may have been affected by the scam to contact their bank directly.

Published on March 3-th, 2009 in Credit Cards
Damon Rasheed is the CEO of Rate Detective, an Australian financial service comparison sites specialising in Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and home loans. Damon holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and has been involved in many start-up internet businesses.

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