Bulgarian law enforcement officials have discovered and seized six skimming devices installed on ATMs on the country’s Black Sea coast during the month of July, the Interior Ministry said on August 2.
The ministry did not say whether the police had made any arrests, but warned bank card users to exercise caution. Some consumers already had their cards blocked by banks for security purposes, but not all of them reported such cases to police, the ministry said.
Skimming devices contain several elements that are meant to be entirely indistinguishable from the ATM’s own components, including a device that reads the personal data off the magnetic strip on the bank card and a miniature camera that records personal identification numbers (PIN).
Skimmers can then use the data to make forged bank cards and draw funds using customers’ data, without their knowledge.
ATM skimming devices are not unheard of in Bulgaria, but remain a rare occurrence. More often, Bulgarian criminals focus their skimming efforts on richer pickings outside the country’s borders.
In 2010, a skimming gang that included four residents of Bourgas following a year-long investigation. The gang siphoned money from ATM machines in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Australia and Canada.
In recent years, authorities in New Zealand, Australia, the US and other countries have reported of the scourge of the “skimming” scheme, particularly from eastern European crime rings, many of which were organised by Bulgarians.
(Photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry)