Secret Service warns ATM jackpotting attacks seen in other countries are hitting the United States
By NACS Online
ABC News reports that the U.S. Secret Service is warning banks across the country about a new means of robbing ATMs, called “jackpotting,” that’s been seen in Europe and Mexico and now hitting the United States in a coordinated manner.
Jackpotting is when ATM machine is compromised to spit out cash to a fraudster at a furious rate of 40 bills every 23 seconds, notes ABC News. “That’s where you get the term jackpotting from because it is basically like a slot machine that you hit the jackpot—you are basically taking all of the money out of the ATM,” supervisory special agent Matt O’Neill told the news source.
The Secret Service says they’ve seen about a dozen cases across the country from the mid-Atlantic region through New England, the Pacific Northwest and Louisiana. “What we’re finding is the attacks really started in a coordinated effort in December and well north of a million dollars has been taken,” O’Neill said.
The process of jackpotting happens when a fraudster poses as an ATM technician and accesses the machine, which they open by using a generic key that the Secret Service says is readily available for purchase on the internet. Once inside the ATM, the fraudster installs a laptop and cellphone into the machine to remotely take over the ATM and force it discharge money. Oftentimes fraudster will return to the empty ATM to retrieve the laptop and cellphone.
“It runs until it is empty or the person standing at the ATM alerts the controller of the ATM to stop the withdrawal sequence because either law enforcement is nearby or for whatever reason they get spooked and want to leave the scene,” O’Neill told ABC News. “We’ve seen these 21st Century robberies take place in plain sight, middle of the day, in malls, just because they are obviously getting themselves a jacket that says technician on it.”
Jackpotting has been a problem in Europe and, according to the Secret Service, it was just a matter of time before it came to the United States. “It’s a problem that is not going to go away any time soon, now that it has hit our shores,” O’Neill told the new source.
Retailers should be suspicious of any person who shows up unannounced and unscheduled to their site to service an ATM, and report these individuals to the authorities. If a service call was not placed, nobody should be gaining unauthorized access to the ATM.