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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 13:04 GMT
Your Say: Cash machine fraud
A machine with a card skimmer fitted, covering the whole right hand side of the cashpoint
Fraudsters often fit "skimming" devices and cameras at cashpoints

Last week, Money Box's Bob Howard reported on the millions of pounds being lost to cash machine scams despite the introduction of chip and pin technology.

We asked for your suggestions on how to combat this crime.

On Money Box on Saturday, we discussed some of these with Sandra Quinn of Apacs (the UK payments association).

Following this interview, you continued to send in your thoughts, a selection of which are below:

The only solution is for banks to issue cards without magnetic strips. Chips can't be cloned. Every cash machine in the world needs to read the chip when you're drawing money out. As long as you've got a magnetic strip on your card and cash machines in, for example, Peru, look at the magnetic strip not the chip we'll continue to get global fraud.
Dave Boden

Apacs held up the French chip & pin system as the shining example, saying it reduced card fraud by 80%. Sandra Quinn made no mention that the French system was just that, exclusive to the French and French cards. The weakest point in chip & pin is pin. A pin used with a stolen card can be used anywhere in the period between it being lost and the loss reported. A pin with a cloned card can be used in almost any ATM worldwide. The vast majority of pin transactions made at ATMs pre C&P were by debit cards. Now crooks can take their choice, credit or debit card, it doesn't matter which, pins are common to both. Remove half the problem, remove pins from credit cards.
James, North Yorkshire

Sandra Quinn seemed to have missed the point I made about receiving a text message
John Bradbury, Maidenhead
Sandra Quinn seemed to have missed the point I made about receiving a text message. The message comes from the bank that issued the card and validates the funds and not from the machine that reads the card. So it does not matter which network or cash machine you obtain the cash from. She implied that it could only work if you used your own bank's cash machines.
John Bradbury, Maidenhead

I recently reported to my bank that I was suspicious about a plastic insert that had appeared in the card slot of their ATM since I last used it. The insert was coloured to look like the metal front of the ATM, as I would expect of a skimmer. It turns out that the piece of plastic was in fact one of the bank's own measures to protect against skimming. How am I meant to distinguish the bank's tacky plastic inserts from a skimmer's?

Financial institutions that don't address this in a serious manner should be penalised
Chris, London
If banks fail to stop this much money passing into criminal hands and the black economy, they are essentially part of the problem. Just as house insurers expect owners to take steps to lock doors and set alarms, so we should expect banks to put in place sufficient controls. We expect companies to protect personal data, and there are further expectations on those that hold sensitive personal data. Financial institutions that don't address this in a serious manner should be penalised, and shamed by their funding of crime.
Chris, London

The PIN problem could be fixed by having a choice of two, the machine requesting one or the other alternatively. The skimmers would then need catch you twice before they could get cash out. I also think it would be a good idea to have an emergency PIN, which is really a call for help if you are forced to remove cash by someone under duress. This happens quite often to young people. It would of course stop the card working or being returned and alert the police.
Mike, Oxford

I work frequently in Bulgaria and Romania where the risk for ATM fraud is probably higher and less manageable. I maintain two current accounts. The main account, which is where the majority of money is held and from which direct debits and cheques are drawn; and a second account, with a minimal balance and to which the ATM card is linked. In this way, any loss is limited.
Tony Farrar, Colchester

With regard to Graham Bryan's excellent suggestion of cards without a magnetic strip: if APACS say the customer can't have that because all the suppliers have agreed not to provide it, that seems to be evidence of a cartel which operates against the consumer's interests.
H M McFarlane

To combat skimming devices attached to the machine, why don't the banks have a photograph of how the cash machine should look either displayed above the machine or on the opening screen with a message saying "Does the machine look like the picture? If not don't use it."
Sally Mason, Lancashire

Maybe one way a person could "protect" himself would be to scratch the magnetic strip off his card
Mitchell Godwin, Colchester
I listened intently to the man who asked if he could have a cash card with no magnetic strip on it. Maybe one way a person could "protect" himself would be to scratch the magnetic strip off his card. I wonder what the banks think about this idea.
Mitchell Godwin, Colchester

I work for a big credit card company and I have seen how hard they make it for anyone that has had fraud on their account - they turn claims away by saying that you must have given your PIN number out. The UK banks have bought into the cheap version of chip and pin. France and Germany have the better version that is less likely to suffer from fraud.
Nelly, North West

Since all UK banks are supposed to be issuing chip cards why do ATMs hand over cash from UK accounts to cards using the magnetic strip? They should refuse to work for UK bank transactions if the card doesn't have a chip. This would still allow foreign cards to work with the magnetic strip.
Graeme Wood, UK

I wonder if the banks have considered some kind of light-sensing technology to combat attachments being placed over an ATM. If the light falling on, say for instance the card slot, falls for a sustained period of time then maybe the ATM could shut itself down?
Dave Nesbitt, South Shields

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Q&A: Preventing card fraud
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