sb-nz logo
Story image

Card skimming tech seized in Auckland

27 Jan 2020

Last week, New Zealand Customs officers arrested two people in downtown Auckland for importing card skimming equipment.

The two, aged 30 and 35, arrived from Romania into New Zealand in November last year.

It is alleged that after their arrival to the country, both defendants imported two packages containing card skimming devices for the purpose of fraudulently withdrawing money from ATMs.

Customs officers, with assistance from the NZ Police, executed a search warrant at a downtown city address last night and located evidence implicating both in the importation, manufacture and possession of card skimming equipment.  

During the arrests, Customs officers recovered:

  • Automated teller machine (ATM) skimming devices being manufactured for installation;
  • Blank cards and a card writer machine;
  • Tools and equipment for manufacturing skimming devices;
  • Computers and electronic devices.

The two Romanian nationals were charged Under Section 391 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act 2018 with knowingly concerned in the importation of goods that are for a dishonest purpose into New Zealand.

If found guilty, the pair could each face up to three years in prison and deportation.

The pair were scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court on Friday.

Further fraud charges may be laid under the Crimes Act says Operations Manager Investigations Stephen Waugh.

“Customs officers are always looking out for importation and use of devices that compromise ATMs for ‘skimming’.  It’s a worldwide issue and New Zealand regularly encounters people travelling to our country wanting to undertake this type of criminal activity,” says Waugh. 

Skimming typically involves inserting a device that reads data contained on plastic cards’ magnetic strips. 

These devices are placed in ATM card readers which obtain credit card details.

In order to get a card’s PIN number, criminals attach pinhole cameras around the ATM, which are carefully concealed.

Stolen data is later cloned onto blank cards and these are used by offenders at ATMs withdraw money by fraudulent means.

Unfortunately, the only way to prevent having card details stolen in this manner is to be vigilant and cautious in your use of ATMs.

Users can look for small cameras that are not part of the machine itself and pull firmly on any protruding parts around the card entry point.

A quick online search can provide a wealth of information and advice on how to avoid skimming and many other technology-based scams.

If you are suspicious for any reason, use a different ATM and contact the company that owns the ATM (the bank, union, etc.).

If you feel that you may be a victim of this or any other fraudulent activity, contact your card issuer as soon as possible.

Story image
Top security threats for 2021
2021 will see several themes develop into full blown security threats, many of them borne from the struggles of pandemic-stricken 2020, writes Wontok head of technology Mick Esber.More
Story image
Check Point exposes Android malware vendor using dark net to rebrand products
Check Point security researchers have exposed an Android malware vendor using a marketer on the dark net to rebrand its products, with the intention of supercharging business and throwing off security vendors. More
Story image
Fortinet promises free cybersecurity training until skills gap trend reverses
"We are committed to continue offering the entire catalogue of self-paced Network Security Expert training at no cost until we see the skills gap trend reverse."More
Story image
Entrust acquires HyTrust, with aim to improve data encryption solutions
Entrust says the acquisition will bolster its effort to deliver data protection and compliance solutions to its customers, while accelerating their digital transformations.More
Story image
UPDATED: RBNZ ascribes data breach to third-party file sharing service
“The nature and extent of information that has been potentially accessed is still being determined, but it may include some commercially and personally sensitive information,” says RBNZ Governor.More
Story image
Cyberattacks on healthcare organisations "out of control" - Check Point
There has been a 45% increase in cyberattacks on healthcare organisations worldwide in the last two months, making healthcare the most targeted industry by cyber criminals.More