What is Skimming??


The development of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) has been increase rapidly, especially after the discovery of technology that connects between computers (networking) and internet. However, these advances were followed by the development of the other side of the technology that lead to the use of computers as a tool to do various crime. This term then known as cybercrime.

Recently, there is ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) cracking by using skimming technique. Skimming is one of crime technique that used to break the ATM. Skimming crime is done by installing skimmer tool into ATM machine so it can record customer’s data.

Skimming crime has occured in Indonesia for several years ago. But recently, it happens again in March 2018. Customer from several banks in Indonesia have losses due to this crime. Most of them are the customer from BRI, Mandiri Bank, BNI and other banks. They have losses in varying amount on each account.

Most of them are happened in Kediri, Surabaya, Jogjakarta, Bali and others area such as Salatiga and Surakarta. Skimming not only happens in Indonesia, but it also happens in other country several years ago. The breakers have been arrested at that time, but another new then appear. From macroeconomics point of view, it may caused by the lack of job opportunities and unequal income.

Nadifa Tyas Sulistiani

The steps used by the breakers to break into customer’s ATM are:

  1. Skimming Technique at ATM mouth
  2. The breaker do skimming by installing skimmer tool at the mouth of ATM machine. Skimmer is a tool used to steal the customer’s data. It usually installed at the mouth of ATM machine. So, when we insert ATM Card to the machine, the skimmer tool will read the data and information in our card as the machine do. The data that may be stolen are card number and the time of transaction. Skimmer tool stole these data because they are part of the key that used to access our bank facilities. And one of the easiest way to get data and information from ATM Card is by installing addition tool (skimmer) in front of the mouth where people insert the ATM Card.

    Here are some forms of skimmers tools that usually used by the breaker to break into ATMs:


    Skimmer in 2013


    Update the cap of ATM Machine with reader card in skimmer tool.

    By installing the skimmer to the ATM mouth, the data of each customer who made transaction by inserting their card to the atm will be recorded on the skimmer tool, such as card number and transaction time.

  3. How to know the customer PIN
  4. The breakers installing hidden camera to record the moment when customer input their PIN (Personal Identification Number) on the PIN Pad. The form of this camera is very small, so we may not aware of this existence. This camera has big internal memory that used to save the stolen data.


    In more advance technology, PIN is taken without using hidden camera. The tool to stole the PIN is directly planted into the PIN pad of ATM machine. The thief put the fake PIN pad above the real one on the ATM machine. This fake PIN pad is used to record the data of customer’s PIN who doing transaction on the ATM machine. Each of customer’s data will be recorded and matched with its closest time.

  5. Make the fake magnetic card
  6. When the thief taking back their skimmer and camera, they have got the data from customer’s card completed with its PIN. They are ready to duplicate customer’s ATM card who recorded in the tools. Skimmer tool, hidden camera and fake PIN pad have stolen customer’s data such as ATM card number, PIN, and its transaction time. Then, the thief can make the new magnetic card with our data inside by using this tool:


    Furthermore, the thief has full access as much as its stolen owner. To minimize the risk, the thief usually choose ATM with no CCTV camera.

    Along with development in technology, ATM crack techniques being more sophisticated. Thieves are not install skimmer tool at the ATM mouth anymore, but customer data are directly tapped from the cable. In this technology, the device is installed in the cable of ATM machine and this machine is paired with camera.The data are directly tapped by ethernet cable. If there is ATM machine with this kind of cable, people should alert that it using skimmer tool.


    Beside of them, there are another way to trick the customer, it called Phishing. Phishing is an action to get personal information like User ID, Password, PIN and other personal data by pretend to be legal people or organization by the email. They usually make the fake site to trick the customer especially the user of internet banking service. By send an email that pretend it from the bank, the thief ask the customer to refill the data using system maintenance as a reason. After that, the customer’s account can be accessed by the thief.

    Some of thief are using cross-country method. The stolen data then liquified in other country, because they are in an international network of skimming. Information technology crime (Cyber ​​crime) is a problem that must be handled seriously, because it has wide effect. If it can’t be handled, it will has negative effect for people’s lives, especially for technology users.

    Therefore, society as bank service user should beware of this issue. Here are some preventive steps that people can take to minimize the occurrence of skimming crime:

    1. Dont give ATM PIN to anyone
    2. Change PIN periodicaly
    3. Checking balance on account
    4. Print the savings book
    5. Choosing and doing transaction at ATM which located in its bank office or in the centre of crowd
    6. Doing transaction with internet banking
    7. Activate SMS Notifications
    8. Report to the bank immidiately if any clumsy transcations
    9. Dont trust easily with the help of other people near ATM
    10. Notice the condition of EDC machine when doing transaction in merchant using ATM
    Banks can take preventive way by increasing the intensity of checking ATM periodically. Especially ATM which located far away from the crowd that possible to be a target of skimming.

Why it happens?

Skimming occurs because most of ATM cards and debit cards in Indonesia still use magnetic stripes that can be hacked with skimming crimes. Therefore The Governor of Bank Indonesia state that banks should accelerate the migration of debit cards from magnetic stripe to chip technology. The chip technology is safer to reduce the risk of crime such as skimming. Currently chip technology has been used on most credit cards and some debit cards. Some banks have applied chip technology on debit card with balance above 5 million, while for balance under 5 million still use magnetic stripe. But not all banks apply it yet.

The migration process from magnetic stripe to chip technology is not easy and need much costs. Therefore, Bank Indonesia gives target until 2021 so that the migration process will be done gradually and not difficult for the banks. hese targeting regulated in Surat Edaran Bank Indonesia Nomor 17/52/DKSP on 30 Desember 2015 about Implementasi Standar Nasional Teknologi Cip Kartu ATM/Debit. The legal basis of this newsletter derived from Peraturan Bank Indonesia (PBI) Nomor 14/2/PBI/2012 tentang National Standard Indonesian Chip Card Spesification (NSICCS).

Target specifications given by Bank Indonesia are described below. On December 31, 2018, it is targeted that 30% of debit cards and ATM cards outstanding have used chip technology. On December 31, 2019, 50% of debit cards and ATM cards outstanding are targeted using chip technology. On December 31, 2020, it is targeted to increase to 80% of debit cards and ATM cards outstanding using chip technology. And on December 31, 2021, all ATM cards and debit cards outstanding are targeted to have been using chip technology.

By achieving target from Bank Indonesia's on the migration of debit cards and ATM cards from magnetic stripe to chip technology, is expected to improve the security in transactions using ATM cards and debit cards and reduce the risk of criminal acts such as skimming.

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