Using cloned credit cards with account numbers stolen from a South African based bank, thieves managed to steal 12.7 million dollars from 1,400 ATMs in Japan earlier this month although the theft was only recently disclosed. The thieves used the counterfeit credit cards at 1,400 ATMs in each instance withdrawing the maximum 100,000 yen (approximately $913). In just under three hours starting at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 15th the criminals, using 1,600 phony credit cards managed to steal 1.4 billion yen (approximately 12.7 billion dollars). The affected credit cards were issued by South Africa’s Standard Bank.
It isn’t known at this time whether the credit card numbers were stolen through skimming of legitimate cards or a data breach. Customers whose credit cards were compromised are not liable for any of the illegally made charges on their cards.
This type of theft may not have been possible if ATMs were using processing equipment for the more secure EMV chip cards, however, the deadline under the regulations requiring banks and others with ATM machines to switch to compatibility with EMV chip cards in order to avoid liability is not until October 1, 2017. You can well expect similar type of ATM thefts to occur until banks and others with ATMs do a better job of protecting our security. Fortunately, consumers will only be inconvenienced by these type of thefts, having to cancel cards and get new credit card numbers, but at least consumers will not be responsible for fraudulent charges and withdrawals made using their credit card accounts.