Debit and Credit Card Fraud Soars 70%

FICO report shows ATMs and merchant point-of-sale devices are still highly vulnerable to criminals.


Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the ATM line, a new report has revealed the number of payment cards compromised at U.S. ATMs and merchants rose a whopping 70 percent in 2016. The increase means more people are now falling victim to card fraud.

Conducted by FICO — the company well known for credit scores —  the report also found that the number of times ATM machines or merchant point-of-sale (POS) devices were compromised rose 30 percent last year.

According to the report, most compromises occurred at non-bank ATMs, such as those in convenience stores or gas stations. Merchant POS devices were also vulnerable to compromise, as were bank ATMs. Major banks like Wells Fargo have recently introduced cardless ATM machines in an effort to reduce customer data theft.

The rise in fraud comes despite the increase in EMV or “chip” cards issued by companies like Visa and MasterCard. According to TJ Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO, many merchants and ATM owners have not upgraded their machines to accommodate chip cards, leaving them vulnerable to “skimmers” — devices that enable criminals to steal your card information when you swipe your card.

Learn: How to Spot a Credit Card Skimmer

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One good piece of news in the report is that the average duration of a compromise in 2016 was 11 days. This number is a decrease from the 14 days it took to detect a hacked machine in 2015 and 36 days in 2014.

FICO offers a number of tips for consumers to help protect themselves against debit or credit card fraud. These tips include calling your card issuer immediately if your card is ever captured inside of an ATM and checking your transactions frequently using online banking and your monthly statement.

Figures included in the report only covered fraud occurring at physical devices. It did not cover online fraud, which costs card issuers and merchants billions of dollars each year.

Continue Reading: How to Report Credit Card Fraud

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