3D printing ATM skimmer thieves use to steal $ 100,000

August 20 [Tue], 2013, 16:10
3D printers are opening new avenues for creative people to make what they want in-house, and artists of the con variant are dipping into the tasty metal powder chalice to make highly effective ATM skimmers to steal people"s banking information.

3D printing technology enables people to do many things―good and bad. Beautiful homemade figurines and gadgets will rarely make it into the news, but the same can"t be said for tools that enable crooks to steal critical banking information.

Authorities in Australia have busted some tech savvy crooks that used CAD software and 3D printers to make ATM skimmers, which are Ferrochrome powder devices that are installed by thieves onto banking consoles such as ATMs to monitor and snag credit/debit card numbers as well as login PINs from unsuspecting victims.

The thieves managed to net around (USD) $100K before detectives finally caught them. In the past, crooks relying on skimmers had to jump through several hurdles before they can claim their bounties, as it was quite difficult to find skimmers that will blend in well various ATM consoles. The ones that were recently used in Australia, however, were quite specific to the ATMs they were installed on.

“These devices are actually manufactured for specific Aluminium Magnesium Alloy powder models of ATMs so they fit better and can"t be detected as easily,” said detective Col Dyson.

Skimmers come in various shapes and sizes, with some being noticeable add-ons and others so small that they"re simply shoved into the ATM"s card reading slot.

Security experts claim that skimmers account for a relatively large amount of property theft through automated banking transactions. The level of sophistication of these identity theft contraptions have increased over the years, and with 3D printers on the verge of becoming much more affordable and easily operated it"s a given that theft via this route may also rise dramatically.