Cash Machines

by Barry Drogin

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To The Editor:

In "Fraud at Fake Cash Machine" (front page, May 13), you quote "credit card security experts" as saying that the criminals "had to have a thorough knowledge of ATM networks," which is not so. You also speak of the purchase of used or new machines, at $10,000 to $50,000, which is not necessary, and mention the encryption of personal codes, which in this case is irrelevant.

It is more important for store owners and customers to realize how easy this device is to make, than for some criminals to be tricked into thinking it's beyond their ken. All that is needed is a card reader, a keypad, a properly interfaced PC and a convincing-looking box. The PC reads and stores the information received from the card reader and the keypad, and displays fake screens in response. The criminals then had to have a device to re-transfer the information read onto new magnetic stripes.

Legitimate bank machines, in legitimate locations, are sophisticated and very secure. The lesson is: Stay away from unusual looking bank machines in unfamiliar locations!

The writer designed an early bank machine under contract to Chemical Bank.

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Last Updated: August 4, 2007