The Members Group, which does business as TMG, a financial-services provider to credit unions and community banks, is offering a means to combat ATM card-skimming attacks with a suite of services from ADT Security Services Inc.

TMG is offering ADT’s anti-skimming devices to financial institutions that operate ATM networks. San Diego-based Mission Federal Credit Union, which operates 40 machines, is one of the first credit unions to use ADT’s anti-skimming ATM technology.

San Diego also happens to be a city experiencing an increase in ATM card-skimming attacks, according to Karen Postma, TMG senior cards risk manager. Attacks more often occur in densely populated cities such as New York and Los Angeles, where consumers use multiple ATMs, Postma says.

“People in those areas have a tendency to visit different ATMs as opposed to just one machine in a small town in the Midwest,” she adds. “The odds are you wouldn’t notice if the machine was a little different” because an anti-skimming device was placed over the card slot.

ADT has a short but growing presence in the ATM-security market. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company in the last five years has installed more than 50,000 anti-skimming devices worldwide.

ADT offers two devices that financial institutions may use separately or as part of a package.

A jamming device emits an electromagnetic signal that stops an illegal card reader from capturing data. “[Criminals] don’t know they’re getting bad information until they try to download the data from the skimmer,” says Tracie Gerstenberg, a national account manager and skimming expert at ADT.

A separate surface-detection device senses any foreign object placed near the ATM’s card reader. The device can detect any changes in pressure caused by the weight of a card-skimming device near the card reader. The sensor can activate the jamming device when used together.

ADT also can connect the sensor device to a financial institution’s alarm system. “It’s then up to the financial institution on what they intend to do once the alarm sounds,” Gerstenberg says.

ATM-skimming attacks in the United States are growing as other countries are using or are moving to EMV chip-and-PIN payment cards, Gerstenberg says. While there is little hard data about incidents, ADT’s own research suggests attacks were up 5% this year through June compared with the same period of time in 2009.

Nicole Sturgill, research director for delivery channels at TowerGroup, a Needham, Mass.-based consultancy unit of Corporate Executive Board Co., says it is difficult to get a firm grasp on skimming attacks because financial institutions and ATM vendors are sending mixed signals.

Financial institutions usually do not reveal ATM-skimming attacks, but vendors say it is a growing problem. “It’s really difficult to isolate the right data,” Sturgill says.

Regardless of available data, TMG will push the anti-skimming devices as a preventive measure and can cover any expenses a financial institution incurs associated with an attack.

“We’re going out to clients in a proactive manner and telling them” ATM skimming is a growing trend, Postma says.

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