The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) put out a warning to banks that cyber criminals are planning an “ATM cash-out.” An ATM cash-out is when a hacker obtains the users information, usually through a phishing attack via phone or email, and then clones your debit card. Once your card is cloned, hundreds of people use that card to withdraw cash from ATM’s at the same time. The amount withdrawn is not restricted because the hackers hack into the payment processing system and trick it into not recording what is being debited from your account.

According to KrebsonSecurity “The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an ‘unlimited operation’,” reads a confidential alert the FBI shared with banks privately on Friday.

How can you defend yourself?

  • First, be alert of phishing attacks – especially ones that might appear to be your bank warning you of a security breach. If you suspect an email or phone call may be a phishing scam, call your bank directly.
  • Second, create strong passwords. Always try to include capitalization, numbers and additional characters. Use two-factor authentication when possible.
  • Lastly, monitor your accounts closely. Check your bank accounts and monitor your transactions closely. If you see something, report it to your bank immediately and find out what your options are for re-securing your accounts and getting your money back.