Thursday, July 5, 2007

Korean Police Uncover ATM Scam

Suppose you use an ATM and the machine shows a message saying it is short of cash after you have entered your PIN number. A sensational case before the courts this week suggests you had better check that the machine is genuine, or else your money may be gone.

Busan Metropolitan Police said a man identified as Kim and seven accomplices who had known each other from jail, pooled W220 million (US$1=W938) to build two fake cash machines. They bought parts of an ATM, a card reader and a CCTV camera from China and installed the devices on second-hand ATMs that were used in Korea three to four years ago.

They made them look genuine by putting a sign saying “CASH-BANK” and a list of domestic financial institutions’ names on the machines. As soon as anyone inserted a credit card, the information was stored in the machine and the PIN number recorded by the CCTV camera installed right above the keypad. The fake machine then displayed a message saying it was out of cash.

Kim and accomplices withdrew about W70 million by illegally copying some 100 credit cards over the last four months. Busan police arrested Kim and one of the accomplices and is chasing the other six. Police are investigating whether there were further such crimes since a similar scam was reported in China.

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