Florida and California were hardest hit when it comes to debit and credit card skimming, crimes where thieves install a device on an ATM or cash register that steals card information. Almost half of all skimming in 2012 (46%) happened at bank-owned ATMs. Just over a third (36%) occurred at retail locations. Only 18% of card skimming took place at ATM machines not operated by banks.
That represents a significant change from 2011, when the majority (79%) of card skimming happened at retail point-of-sale terminals. The dissolution of a large multi-state crime ring that targeted cash registers in stores helped lower that stat.
FICO Labs analyzes over 65% of all U.S. ATM transactions and found a significant increase in skimming in California and Florida this past year. Fast-food restaurants and ATMs in California were the most likely place for this crime to happen, especially in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties. Florida also had a rash of skimming incidents in the second half of the year largely due to the compromise of card-readers at a well-known national bookseller and a local grocery store chain.
Credit card fraud
FICO stats show that 20 states experienced a rise in overall credit card fraud rates during 2012. Seven of those were on the East coast – Main, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia. South Dakota had the biggest increase in credit card fraud, with a jump of 25.6%. Iowa also experienced a significant rise in the crime, with a 22% higher rate of credit card fraud in 2012 compared to 2011. Washington State, Montana and Virginia all had rate increases around 10%.
Fraud rates were lower in many states though, including California – which, in spite of the spike in ATM card skimming, had an 8.7% decrease in card skimming fraud overall. Other states that experienced a decrease were Kansas (-9.5%), Idaho (-7.6), Missouri (-6.1%), New Mexico (-5.0%) and New Jersey (-4.5%).
A complete listing of FICO’s findings can be found on this interactive map.
This crime ring targeted a single retailer, compromising point-of-sale terminals in 70 locations across 18 states.