Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

I met a charismatic gent on FOX and Friends named Sean Seibel. Sean has a unique job title called User Experience Evangelist under Microsoft. Sean’s job is to be on top of what is new and ahead what is next in technology 5-7 years from now. He’s a futurist. He and I spoke in the green room of the show before we appeared together on a segment regarding ATM Skimming.

To be a User Experience Evangelist, it requires a certain vision, insight and the ability to go beyond whats current or in front of you. Sean proved his ability to see “more” by trumping a gang of identity thieves who set out to steal millions from ATMs but “only” got away with $500,000.

Recently Sean stopped at a bank ATM to get some cash to pay his barber. When he inserted his ATM card in the machine he noticed a bit of resistance. Most people wouldn’t think twice about this. But again, Sean doesn’t think like most people. Then the screen said the machine was unable to read his card so he tried again. The 2nd time, the machine gave him an error message.

Before he tried again, he thought about a report he heard about devices that fraudsters attach to the outside of card readers on ATM machines and wondered if that was the source of his problem. He says “I’m looking at the thing and thinking this can’t be -no way. There are all these stories and myths about it, but I actually found one in the wild.”

Sean was face to face with an ATM skimmer, one that he just swiped his card through. His heart now starts pounding and the adrenalin is rushing through his body. He’s concerned not just that he may be scammed, but the fact that criminals may be very close by, maybe even behind him or watching him. However that does not deter him.

Sean says “I tried to pull on the green plastic surrounding the card slot and found that it peeled right off” The plastic ATM skimmer had an SD card built into it to store all the stolen data. Then he went into the bank and notified the branch manager. The branch manager had never seen an ATM skimmer and didn’t really know what to do. She took the skimmer and thanked Sean.

Then Sean remembers from numerous reports about ATM skimming that there is usually 2 parts to the ATM skimmer. One is the skimming device itself, the second is a micro-camera placed somewhere on the machine 1a recording the users PIN. The camera is often installed in a false brochure holder that is stuck with 2 sided taped on the ATM. In this case it was behind a small mirror that alerts the ATM user to “shoulder surfers”

Sean went back to the still operational ATM, with people in line for cash, and noticed a micro video camera behind an extra mirror attached to the machine positioned right over the key pad recoding user’s pincodes.

Not being a bank employee and not wanting to alarm any of the people in line, he actually got in line, waited his turn (knowing the skimmer was gone and nobody was in danger) and pulled the camera off the ATM and brought that back in the bank too. That was when the bank manager says to Sean “Maybe we should shut 2b* that machine down huh?” Sean says, “I think that’s a good idea” The bank manager contacted bank security and shut down the machine and alerted other area banks.

Bank branch manager…ZERO
Identity Thieves……….$500,000
Sean Seibel foiling their operation and becoming a hero to many….Priceless.

Some great tips from Marite Ferrero, CardSwitch Technology at the bottom of this post

FACTS:
*ATM skimming has been and will continue to be the number one type of ATM-related fraud, – ATMMARKETPLACE.COM
*Criminals attach skimming devices over card slots on ATMs to steal the info as the machine reads the card’s magnetic strip. *Hidden cameras record victims typing in their PIN codes.
*More sophisticated criminals use wireless keypad overlays, that transmit PIN #s to a nearby laptop, instead 3b of cameras.
*The U.S. Secret Service estimates that annual losses from ATM skimming total about $1 billion each year, or $350,000 a day
*Bank ATMs More Vulnerable Than Stand-Alone ATMs
*Stand alone ATM’s (in grocery stores, on the street) switch to technology that encrypts the PIN pad, criminals are finding it harder to hack into them
*Stand alone ATM’s are often positioned near the watchful eye of cashier or store owner, so it’s harder to install skimmers without being caught.
*Bank ATMs are also more highly trafficked, which means a bigger potential payoff for the criminals.

Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Fox and Friends discussing ATM skimming here.

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