Fake ATMs Drain Your Account Dry

We’ve talked about spotting skimmers placed on ATMs before, but what if the whole ATM is a skimmer?

Thieves in China bought a normal ATM machine and installed it on a busy Beijing street to scoop up victims debit card info. They then embedded the stolen info on debit cards they manufactured and started sucking up all the money in the duped customers’ accounts.

It was spotted in Beijing, but given China’s fondness for exporting, best to be forewarned.

Fake ATM dupes China bank customers [AFP]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ChemicalFyre says:

    Not Yours.

  2. areaman says:

    This is a payback from Florida to China for the shitty dry wall.

    • spinceoli says:

      Domestic thieves in Beijing, China are preying on Chinese ATM users because Floridians received subpar drywall from Chinese drywall manufacturers?

      Your logic is impeccable.

      • Moweropolis says:

        Or Florida paid them and gave them the resources to do it? Think a little outside the box and roll with a joke. You do it again and I will put a pointy hat on your head and make you sit on the shame stool in the corner.

  3. smo0 says:

    No way to tell…. but then again – what if someone uses a stolen card at that ATM, plus in a bogus pin (which I’m assuming the machine tells it to work regardless) they pull out a bunch of money – then the thieves use the card number and pin at a legit bank and it doesn’t work!

    Jokes on them?

  4. dg says:

    This is a common scam all over the world. Simple solution: Just use the ATM’s at your local bank. Check for skimming equipment on them, cover the keypad when entering your pin – I even cover the slot as I enter my card (after wiggling it to check for skimmers). If the machine looks hokey, or different, or new – don’t use it. Call the bank the next day and ask…

    • quail says:

      If the whole machine is fake, then covering the keypad while you enter a PIN won’t keep the thieves from getting your number.

      • jivesukka says:

        Kind of missed the part where it says ‘only use the ones at your bank’ didn’t you?

        • jamar0303 says:

          You have no idea how Chinese bank regulations are. ALL ATMs in China MUST be associated with a BANK that’s allowed to have them (though remember that “being allowed to have ATMs!= being allowed to issue ATM cards; Citibank, HSBC, and a few other foreign banks had ATMs in China purely for the benefit of foreign visitors before they were allowed to start issuing their own ATM cards). Some kind of outsourcing is allowed, but the bank is responsible for anything that happens. Sometimes I think that’s better than the American system.

          • jamar0303 says:

            I’m kicking myself right now. That’s how the regulations read but the article says it didn’t happen. I give up, people really ARE that dumb. There’s not supposed to be ANY non-bank ATMs here and all those idiots STILL used it.

    • Rena says:

      You also dodge ATM fees this way.

  5. howie_in_az says:

    I was wondering when people would start doing this.

  6. iamlost26 says:

    China’s fondness for exporting… or everyone else’s fondness for importing?

  7. gman863 says:

    This is why I avoid ATMs in quickie marts. Unless the ATM is attached to a bank or in a well-known store, I have no idea who is getting my account and PIN #s.

    The best idea (if you have time) is to get cash back at a store as part of a debit card purchase. If you’re not near your bank’s ATM, the cash back on a debit card purchase usually doesn’t have a fee. The two or three bucks you’d pay the other bank for using their ATM is better spent on gum, mints or anything else you buy to do the cash back transaction.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      This is what I do, or I go to my branch and make a withdrawal. I used to use ATMs confidently but there are too many skimmers out there. It was worse in Europe, but it’s still pretty bad here. Why chance it? My bank is open 9-3 on Saturdays anyway. Plenty of time to get cash for the week.

    • jamar0303 says:

      The problem with this story is that this isn’t supposed to happen- According to Chinese banking regulations here-


      or more simply stated at the bottom of this article-


      ATMs are treated as “self-service banks”(thus falling into the category of “intra-city business office” with entailing paperwork) here and thus are regulated much the same as a regular branch/sub-branch of a bank- in other words, you can’t set one up on your own unless you have the support/backing of a bank that’s allowed to have ATMs (in other words, you can’t set up a Wells Fargo ATM in China because even though they have a branch here -surprising, I know- it’s not going to fly with the PBOC).

      In other words, the fact that people actually used this ATM despite it being out of compliance with regulations how jut how dumb some people are. Victim-blaming isn’t the most popular thing here, but shouldn’t it have occurred to them that it was just a LITTLE odd that the ATM wasn’t associated with a bank unlike every other legal-to-operate ATM in the country?

      • kujospam says:

        As much as I know America has the most laws of any country in the world. I would not be surprised if China comes some where close. Anyways, I have some law questions, and I’m glad YOU know them ALL

  8. pyehac says:

    My bank just recently increased the normal ATM fees if you use other ATMs to $2/use – that made me just use my bank’s ATM. And I know where they’re all are, so I don’t have to worry about this (unless someone installs a skimmer on a legitimate ATM)

  9. OnePumpChump says:

    A fake Automated Teller Machine Machine?

    Boy, I’m glad I didn’t give it my Personal Identification Number Number.

  10. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    And this is something new? How many times have I read local news reports of a fake ATM put in some variety store which contains a card-skimmer and a pinhole camera aimed at the keypad so it can record you typing in your PIN? Your only option: stick to your bank’s own ATMs, and if you can’t find one, go to a store (a major one, not some tiny hell-hole store who may be an accessory to a similar scam) that takes debit cards and ask for cash back (which will avoid those interac/Plus system/other “convenience” fees from both your bank and the bank you’re trying to take a fast $60 from,)

  11. MikeB says:

    This happened back in 93 in the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester, CT. Not sure if this was the first time a fake ATM was used, but the ATM wiki states that.

    I can remember when this happened, and trying to think back if I had ever used that ATM. Also, when they put the ATM in place, they went to the nearest ATM and put in a card with glue on it.


    Authorities said three men posing as representatives of a New Jersey financial services company coaxed managers of the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester, Conn., into letting them install an ATM machine near the entrance to a department store in the mall.

    The men wheeled the machine into place April 24. For 16 days, the culprits used the phony machine to record confidential account information from customers, including their secret pass codes for retrieving cash from accounts.

    To win the users’ confidence, authorities said, the thieves planted seed money so that people would think the ATM machine was legitimate.

    Customers who used the machine later received slips saying their transaction could not be processed after they had entered their confidential account information.

    Then, authorities said, the scam architects used the codes and numbers to make counterfeit bank cards. The counterfeits were used in making almost $100,000 in cash withdrawals from ATMs in several states on the East Coast.

    • RickN says:

      That seems like a lot of work and up-front expense for $100,000. Even more since since it got split at least 3 ways.

  12. peebozi says:

    the market will work itself out. why do you all hate the chinese for wanting to join our free market, capitalist system?!