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by Tristan Hugo-Webb 0

A new report by the European ATM Security Team (EAST) has revealed that a number of European countries have seen a rise in card skimming devices. However rather than traditionally targeting ATM machines, the report finds criminals are now increasingly targeting public transport machines. While the piece focuses on the rise in card skimming at public transport payment terminals, other types of payment terminals are also increasingly coming under attack with at least six countries reporting that gas stations that offered pay at the pump service are seeing increased card skimming.

The rise in these “low tech” payment card attacks is particularly disconcerting for the European payment industry as after years of steady card fraud decline due to the implementation and broad deployment of EMV technology, fraud has grown in 2012, with the United Kingdom alone witnessing a 14% rise in fraud losses on debit and credit cards, according to the UK Cards Association. While Europeans attempt to counter this rising fraud phenomenon, they are left pointing fingers at the United States which has become the number destination for European payment card fraud according to Europol.

“Because chip-and-pin is not yet widely supported in the United States, skimmer scammers who steal card data from European ATM users tend to ship the stolen card data to buyers or co-conspirators in the United States, where the data is encoded onto fabricated cards and used to pull cash out of U.S. ATMs,” says payment card security expert Brian Krebbs.

The fact that most card fraud in Europe is linked to the United States highlights the importance of a global payment security standard which, for the most part, EMV technology has become. While a number of factors including but not limited to, cost and size of the U.S. payment market have slowed EMV migration domestically, until EMV becomes commonplace in the United States, the U.S. will continue to grow as a hotbed for international payment card fraud.

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