ATM skimming device found in BPI Tuguegarao City
TUGUEGARAO, Philippines – Local authorities discovered a skimming device inside an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of one of the 3 branches of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in this city Monday morning, December 7.
In a phone interview, Superintendent Jesse Tamayo, Tuguegarao City police chief, said they found an Internet router connected at the back of the ATM.
Tamayo confirmed it is a "hacking" device used to obtain data from the accounts of ATM users.
Tamayo said the wire connected to the ATM's computer system has been cut and attached to the suspects' router.
"They have connected the router to the computer wires inside the wall where the ATM is installed," Tamayo told Rappler. "Through this they are able to enter the computer system to obtain the data and information of the machine's recent transactions."
Tamayo said it is a simple form of hacking and the suspects will then use the data, including users' account numbers and personal identification number (PIN) code, to create a new card and eventually withdraw cash.
Suspects at large
Copying or skimming card information is a common method of card scammers.
Skimmers copy the information stored in the card's magnetic strip, as well as PIN code of an account holder through fake keypads, hidden cameras or other means.
Authorities are now coordinating with different local police to locate the whereabouts of the two foreigner suspects who look Caucasian.
Tamayo said the incident was caught in a close circuit television camera (CCTV).
As more users complain about "unauthorized withdrawals" of cash from their ATM cards, Tamayo advised banks to take steps in ensuring the safety of clients' accounts.
Last year, authorities arrested two Bulgarian nationals for the scam. (READ: Eastern Europeans could be behind ATM fraud – BPI)
Earlier, BPI confirmed reports of "unauthorized withdrawals" from their clients, describing these incidents as an "international banking concern." (READ: ATM card skimmers strike at upscale mall in Makati)
More victims of ATM card skimming also shared their stories with Rappler. (READ: More ATM users share horror stories)
BPI said in a statement on November 27 that the bank has already undertaken measures like the continuous replacement of ATM models; better and more strategic placement of CCTV cameras; more frequent ATM checks by branch officers; enhanced security measures; and close coordination with law enforcement agencies in apprehending perpetrators and pursuing criminal cases against them to help thwart incidents of ATM card skimming. (READ: BPI eyes replacement of 7M ATM cards by 2016) – with reports from Raymon Dullana/Rappler.com