phantom withdrawals
on-line resources for victims of ATM fraud

documented phantom withdrawals:     21 cases

processing backlog:     5 cases

last update 14th December 2005

Your bank statement arrives in the post, and you find a thousand pounds missing. Someone has been making ATM withdrawals using your card and your PIN. Yet your card wasn't stolen, you've told no-one your PIN, and you're careful to make sure you're not watched as you type it in. If this sounds like you, you're a victim of a phantom withdrawal, and this website is designed to help you.

Phantom Withdrawal Resources

Phantom FAQ

What is a phantom withdrawal? How can phantom withdrawals happen? What should I do if I am a victim? What are the aims of this site? Find out here.

Phantom Case List A detailed list of phantom withdrawal cases, submitted and tracked by this site. View the list to compare your experiences with those described by others, or to research past cases of particular significance.
Discussion Forums Discuss your phantom withdrawal experiences with other visitors to the site, submit links to news and incidents from around, or ask about the technical weaknesses which are sometimes behind the withdrawals.
Case Study What exactly is involved in disputing a withdrawal on your account? This case study of a dispute involving a copied card (but not a PIN) demonstrates the sorts of forms that must be filled out, and the correspondence that takes place.
Contact Information Contact the maintainer of this site, to describe a case in detail, or if you have specific questions not answered here. Feedback from any sort of visitor is very welcome.
Mike Bond's Webpage Return to the personal homepage of the maintainer of the site, and learn about Security API research, one of the areas of computer security research which could help make ATM security better in the future.

Phantom Withdrawals in the News

Sep 2005 -- Present

  • Money surgery: Barclays plays fast and loose with chip and pin -- The Telegraph, 14th December 2005
  • How ATM fraud nearly brought down British banking -- The Register, 21st October '05
  • Jul 2004 -- Aug 2005

  • What the hack? ...Northern Bank robbed again! -- Sunday Life Online, Ireland
  • Romania thieves build bogus ATM -- ABC News Online
  • Analysts Say ATM Systems Highly Vulnerable -- MyWay News (Associated Press)
  • Cash machine fraud nearly doubles -- BBC News Online
  • 'Shoulder-surfing' chip and PIN fraud fear dismissed --
  • Ex-soccer pro guilty of card scam -- BBC News Online
  • Cash machine thieves become 'more brazen' -- The Financial Times
  • Billericay Railway station targeted for ATM fraud -- Neighborhood watch newsletter (excellent pictures of skimming devices)
  • ABSA Warns of New ATM Fraud -- (SA) News article at
  • Creditcard-holders `must pay' -- News article at
  • Jan 2004 -- Jun 2004

  • Called to account: three jailed for ATM scam that siphoned off thousands -- Irish Independent, V. 113, N.120, 20/5/04, p 16
  • Cash machine cloning scam -- BBC News Online
  • Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Sting Police Chief -- Mail on Sunday, Scotland
  • Hi-tech cash machine gang steals millions -- Sunday Times Online
  • Man admits cash machine fraud -- BBC News Online
  • Scammers strike at gas pumps -- Tallahassee Democrat, Florida, USA
  • Skimming scam targets gas stations -- Sun Herald, Florida, USA
  • Credit Card Numbers Stolen At Gas Pumps -- NBC4, USA
  • Skim scam man -- ATM Marketplace, USA
  • Restaurant Servers Charged In Alleged Credit-Card Fraud -- West Palm Beach News, Florida, USA
  • Kentucky House passes credit-card theft bill -- Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  • Jul 2003 -- Dec 2003

  • Nachi worm infected Diebold ATMs - The Register
  • Gangs preying on cash machines -- BBC News Online
  • Cashpoint criminals are scanning your PIN code -- Evening Standard
  • Con men and cash machines -- International Herald Tribune
  • Jan 2003 -- Jun 2003

  • 'Skimming' milks ATM customers' cash -- Sun Sentinel, Florida, USA
  • Skimming the cash out of your account --
  • Mistaken Arrests Leave Pr. George's Murder Unsolved -- Washington Post
  • New York Times Article -- New York Times (registration required to view)
  • Past -- Dec 2002

  • Criminals Focus on Weak Link in Banking: A.T.M. Network -- New York Times
  • German Language

  • Ausgeraubt, Weiter Streit um die Sicherheit der EC-Karte
  • Alte Kartentechnik macht Plastikgeld zum Risiko
  • Datenhack im Internet

  • Malfunctioning ATM machines

  • Diebold ATM crashes to windows
  • Double money in cash point error -- BBC News Online
  • Concerns over Windows cashpoints -- BBC News Online
  • Nachi worm infected Diebold ATMs -- Security Focus News
  • Banks prepare for ATM cyber crime -- Security Focus

  • Selected Opinions on Phantom Withdrawals

  • ATM fraud at
  • Dr. Stephen Castell on Phantom Withdrawals

  • Note: I try to keep all the links on this site up to date and working, but occasionally other sites completely remove information rather than moving it. If you find a link that doesn't work, try looking up the link on the web archive at htttp://

    Technical Resources

    Useful and Background Websites

  • Banking Code Standards Board
  • ATM Market Place
  • Spare Parts for Building ATMs
  • APACS : Association for Payment and Clearing Services (UK only)
  • APACS Cardwatch : Information on Payment Card Fraud & Prevention (UK only)
  • The Banking Technology Resource Centre
  • British Banking Association Code of Practice : Protecting your accounts
  • Office of the Banking Adjudicator, South Africa : Press Releases

  • ATM Skimming Machines and Concealed Cameras

  • Hi-resolution images of an ATM skimmer and concealed camera removed from an ATM in London, UK
  • Images of an ATM skimmer and concealed camera, from University of Texas Police website
  • Diebold Whitepaper on ATM Fraud and Security (Includes some good pictures of skimmers/cameras)

  • Documented Attacks on ATM infrastructure

  • Academic Paper: "Why Cryptosystems Fail", Ross Anderson
  • Academic Paper: "Attacks on Cryptoprocessor Transaction Sets", Mike Bond
  • Academic Paper: "API-Level Attacks on Embedded Systems", Mike Bond and Ross Anderson
  • Academic Paper: "Decimalisation Table Attacks for PIN Cracking", Mike Bond and Piotr Zielinski
  • Academic Thesis: The Design and Analysis of Cryptographic APIs for Security Devices, Jolyon Clulow, University of Natal