Critical Multi-Channel Communications in Card Skimming Attacks

With the expansion of ATM network globally, card skimming remains a prominent concern of banking security professionals around the world. In developing and developed countries alike, banks keep looking for new ways and technologies for skimming fraud prevention, as well as for damage control through effective, critical communications with clients when such events do occur.

According to Retail Banking Research, a total of 4 million ATM machines will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just over 2 million in 2009. Despite the popular discussions on cashless society emerging soon, there is in fact a significant increase in the amounts of money withdrawn from ATMs year over year.

KrebsonSecurity reports that in 2015 both European and American ATMs have seen a sharp increase in skimming attacks, when compared to the year before, and that the trend has apparently continued into 2016.

It was in 2015 that FICO Card Alert Service, which monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs in the US, recorded the highest ever number of ATM compromises. Non-bank ATMs (those placed in convenience stores), were at the greatest risk of abuse. In Europe, 18 738 ATM attacks of all kinds were reported last year – up 19 percent when compared to the year before, or equal to 51 attacks per 1000 ATMs.

Many skimmers install hidden cameras which allow them to steal the victim’s PIN. Other attacks are based on exploiting the vulnerability of magnetic stripes. There are also the infamous cases of transactional reversal fraud – ATM displays a message, misguiding the client into believing the money will not be dispensed. Consumer leaves the ATM, believing their account will not be charged. However, the amount is actually deducted, and collected later on by the fraudsters.

When in crisis – think mobile!

In situations as these, it is critical for the bank not only to identify compromised ATMs as soon as possible, but also to alert all the potentially affected clients immediately, and execute a prompt damage control procedure. Typically, the bank will block all cards that interacted with the skimmed ATM within a certain period of time, and initiate reissue.

To make sure clients are properly and immediately informed of the proactive steps the bank has taken to protect them, it is vital to be able to launch an immediate campaign for the targeted group of clients.

The lasting concern is – how to design and execute such a campaign in the best possible way?

With modern consumers increasingly on the go, and with their mobile devices constantly at the tip of their hands, it is becoming a necessity to think mobile when devising any customer communications – and critical communications in particular. An average smartphone user has more than 200 interactions with their phone every day. Time-critical notifications and communications tend to converge around mobile phones, for the greatest probability of an immediate reach.

Multi-channel campaigns for cross-device reach

In a common scenario, the bank might want to execute a quick campaign, and send out an urgent message through all available channels it knows the customer is using – SMS messaging, phone call, email, mobile app notifications etc. This approach has the best chances of delivering the urgent message in the least time possible, and notify the consumer of any risks associated with skimming, or of any actions the bank has already taken to prevent further damage.

Being quick and proactive with damage control is key for any financial entity, which is why modern multi-channel communication solutions allow for much more than trusted delivery through clients’ channel of choice. An all-encompassing campaign management interface merging actionable, real-time analytics with a complete overview of all messaging activity allows banking professionals to be quick and proactive with any kind of emergency communications.

Features such as placeholders allow for a personalized message to be created, while tailoring it across channels and devices. Reporting and analytics modules enable access to relevant insights in real time.

Automated, recurring reporting should also be available for a detailed overview of campaigns and spending. Fully customizable performance dashboards are another in a series of features needed in critical communications campaign.

By launching a multi-channel campaign from one place unifying all communication channels, you can be time-critical when delivering your communications while keeping in mind client preference and past behavior.

Nov 2nd, 2016
3 min read