Minibank swindlers back in action

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Police, banks and insurance companies were warning Norwegians once again that they should be very careful when using minibanks (automated teller machines) and hide the keyboard when tapping in pin codes. A new wave of so-called skimming has hit minibanks in Oslo, Sandvika in Bærum and Drammen.

The skimming equipment attached to minibanks by swindlers is highly sophisticated and hard for most bank customers to detect, Janne Stømner of the Oslo Police District told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday. It involves a microscopic camera mounted inside the minibank that can read card information of the customers using the cash machines. “They use material that’s identical with the rest of the minibank, so it’s very difficult to notice it,” Stømner said.

The swindlers nonetheless must spy on customers using the minibanks to get their pin codes, in order to be able to pull money out of their accounts. Many have succeeded, however, with several customers having their accounts emptied without them knowing it.

The banks also have advanced systems designed to detect skimming, but caution customers anyway that they must be on guard. “This is very scary,” one customer, Anne-Grethe Nilssen, told NRK. Her bank called to report her card had been skimmed, “but luckily they didn’t get any money,” Nilssen said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to leave for summer holiday.”

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