The US has seen the highest ATM compromise rate ever recorded by the FICO® Card Alert Service, which monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs in the US. ATM compromises rose 546 percent in the US from 2014 to 2015.

FICO reported that criminal activity was the highest at non-bank ATMs, such as in convenience stores, where 10 times as many machines were compromised compared to 2014. In 2015, non-bank ATMs accounted for 60 percent of all compromises, up from 39 percent in 2014.

Even though ATM attacks were up, the average duration of each attack fell significantly from 36 days in 2014 to 14 days in 2015. The average number of cards affected by a compromise was cut in half.

TJ Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO, offered the following tips to cardholders:

  • If an ATM looks odd or your card doesn't enter the machine smoothly, consider going someplace else for your cash
  • If you suspect that your card or PIN may have been compromised after completing a transaction, contact your card issuer
  • Use online banking and monthly statements to check your card transactions frequently
  • Ask your card provider if they offer account alert technology that delivers text or email communications if fraudulent activity is suspected on your payment card
  • Keep your address and cell phone information up to date on every card you have so you can be contacted if there is every is critical situation that requires your immediate attention

“Criminals are taking a quick-hit approach to ATM theft and card fraud. They are moving faster to make it harder for banks to react and shut down the compromises,” Horan said.