Europol calls for crackdown on physical ATM attacks

Europol, the European Union’s police agency, is calling for a clampdown across the continent to tackle attacks by criminal gangs targeting ATMs, the agency said in a press release.

Physical attacks on cash machines rose 27% last year, racking up economic damage of 36 million euros ($40 million) in 21 countries that reported to the European Association for Secure Transactions.

Criminals are resorting to extreme measures to access the cash in machines, including explosive gas attacks, the use of cutting tools and ram attacks that aim to physical remove the entire ATM.

In a paper titled “Preventing Physical ATM Attack” done in collaboration with the European Crime Prevention Network, Hague-based Europol is urging ATM operators to take action in preventing these attacks. Among other things, the agency suggested leaving less cash in the machines (only enough for a day) and staining stolen notes, so the money is traceable.

Europol says measures “should be adopted at the European level” to prevent a crackdown in one country driving organized crime groups to more vulnerable countries.