Theft from European automatic teller machines rose almost 150% last year to reach €500m, says a report from the European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) published today.
Enisa said ATM theft was criminals' preferred way of getting money from stolen or cloned bank cards. There was almost a one-third rise in the number of burglaries or physical attacks on ATMs using ram raids, rotary saws, thermal lances and diamond drills, it said.
Enisa said there were more than 10,000 "skimming incidents", where criminals had stolen user identities and passwords to rob their accounts.
Criminals used different attacks from "shoulder surfing" to spy cameras, false keyboard overlays and even fake machines to steal account details. Increasingly they used Bluetooth wireless communications to send card and Pin details to nearby laptop computers, Enisa said.
Enisa said the number of ATMs in Europe had risen 6% since 2008 to reach 400,000. Many were in remote or less stringently guarded locations. Some 72% of ATMs were in UK, Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
Enisa director Andrea Pirotti said ATM crime was likely to increase as more multi-purpose ATMs were installed.
Pirotti offered three "golden rules" for ATM users:
•Don't use ATMs with extra signage or warnings
• Try to use ATMs inside bank premises
• Don't use free-standing ATMs, especially ones that offer fee-free services.
He said consumers should check their bank statements often for signs of suspicious activity.