Netizen FJ Castle discovered a tampered BPI ATM in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) last December 2, 2014, while he was withdrawing money from the machine sometime around 9:30 PM, reports The Dailypedia.
The ATM is located near the W-Building, just behind Fully Booked. According to Castle, he discovered the tampering while using the machine.
According to RachFeed, it appears that a bogus keypad was placed on top of the original keypad, with the fake keypad equipped with microchips, which were presumably capable of recording data from the keystrokes made by the ATM users.
At the card slot, he and another ATM user were able to discover a device inserted just above the opening. It was barely noticeable, especially because it had the same color as the card slot.
Stealing data and money
These two devices are capable of recording data from the users without their knowledge.
What can the crooks do with the information they got from the machines?
First, the card slot device would have been able to record the data from the magnetic strip in the card. Using this data, the criminals are able to duplicate the person’s ATM card easily. Of course, that would be useless without the PIN, but remember that the ATM’s keypad also contained a device made to look like a keypad but had microchips in it.
Using information from the keystrokes done by the user, the crooks are able to get his/her ATM PIN.
Armed with both the bogus card and the stolen PIN, the crooks are able to withdraw money from the ATM. They would only be limited by the daily transaction limits placed by the banks.
What is even more alarming here is that the crooks could withdraw more funds from the unsuspecting user’s ATM for the next days, until no money is left in account – unless the withdrawals are discovered by the account owner or the bank.
After FJ Castle’s discovery, he posted photos of the tampered BPI ATM on Facebook to serve as warning to netizens who have ever used that particular ATM. Because it was unknown when the crooks installed the devices, he advised everyone to change their PINs immediately.
There were also additional warnings from The Dailypedia and RachTube for the ATM users to immediately check their bank accounts for any fraudulent transactions and unauthorized withdrawals. Such should be immediately reported to the account owner’s own bank so that proper actions can be taken.
Certainly, the BPI ATM at the back of FullyBooked in BGC is not the only one tampered by the crooks, judging from reports of ATM skimming and ATM fraud across the country, but especially in Metro Manila.
To protect yourself from fraud and ATM skimming, make sure to always check the machine for signs of tampering or anything that looks out of the ordinary. Also, cover the keypad when you key in the PIN because some crooks also install tiny cameras angled to capture the keystrokes made by the ATM users.
Always report anything that looks out of place to the bank staff. Also, if you suspect that the ATM you used was tampered, change your PIN at another machine immediately.
BPI cleans the machine
After reports of the skimming went viral, BPI personnel checked and cleaned the ATM in BGC, reports GMA News. Bank staff declared the ATM safe for use again.