New card swindle hits ‘minibanks’

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Automated teller machines known as “minibanks” in Norway have been the target of a new swindle, reports newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). DN cited police as saying that Bulgarian criminals have cracked the minibanks’ security mechanisms, and as many 7,000 bank cards may have been copied.

The state agency in charge of the finance sector (Finanstilsynet) estimates losses at up to NOK 10 million so far, reports DN. The banks owning the minibanks are generally stuck covering the losses.

DN reported that the Bulgarian swindlers, two of whom have been arrested, probably have copied cards used at 35 of the 60 minibanks that have been tampered with. The swindlers use spy cameras, false keyboards and miniscule electronic storage devices, placed in equipment that looks like exact copies of the minibanks’ own.

Bank cards are then “skimmed,” with the information collected used to make copies of false bank cards that already have been used in Malaysia, Peru and the US. Police say it’s almost impossible for a bank customer to see the skimming equipment that can copy account numbers and pin codes.

DN reported that most of the minibanks targeted are located in and around Oslo and elsewhere in southern Norway, including Bergen.

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