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Exposing ATM Fraud: How Darknet Scammers Exploit Cloned Cards and Skimmers

have you heard of cooking checks, or washing checks?

Fraudsters continuously target both large and small financial institutions. Despite the implementation of extensive security measures—both physical and digital—banks worldwide remain vulnerable to fraud in less monitored areas. One such area is the exploitation of ATMs. A prevalent scam thriving in dark web marketplaces involves cloned cards.

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These cloned cards are fake, blank cards embedded with stolen victims’ information on their magnetic strip and chip. They function like regular cards, allowing fraudsters to make purchases, with the only difference being their physical appearance.

Fraudsters often focus on ATMs. Since victims usually remain unaware that their information has been compromised and cloned onto a fake card, they are unlikely to freeze their accounts. ATMs, which are often unguarded, present a high reward with low-risk scenario. A fraudster can cash out thousands of dollars before the bank or the victim even realizes it, making cloned cards highly profitable. The image provided shows the current pricing ranges for cloned cards in the market.

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Another prevalent ATM scam that supports the cloned card market is the use of skimmers. Skimmers are devices embedded with software designed to scan and store a victim’s debit or credit card information. Fraudsters typically sell this stolen information in bulk on the dark web or use it to create cloned cards for personal use or resale. There are different types of skimmers. One skimmer is a physical device placed over the card slot, equipped with a reader to store the stolen information. But, even if a customer uses the contactless card scanner, their information can still be stolen, as fraudsters equip ATMs with skimmers designed for this purpose as well.

Despite routine checks by banks to detect ATM tampering, fraudsters continually develop more advanced tactics. A video demonstrates how a scammer uses a GSM skimmer to steal a victim’s information in real time.

A GSM skimmer is a wireless device capable of bypassing ATM security from up to 75 feet away, even through brick walls.

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The video shows a fraudster sitting in a car, effortlessly downloading client information as customers use the ATM. Another post provides a quick guide on the profitability of using GSM skimmers and steps scammers can take after collecting valuable client data.

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Regardless of size, banks worldwide continue to face relentless targeting of their ATMs for dark web scams, with no signs of this trend slowing down.