Plastic shield

Two design engineers at the University of Warwick have devised a simple plastic shield that could play a role in eliminating the card skimming cash machine fraud that costs banks tens of millions of pounds.

Falling technology cost and increasing technical sophistication of fraudsters have led to a boom in the criminal use of hidden cameras and card “skimming” devices being secreted on ATMs (cash machines) allowing fraudsters to obtain the electronic details and matching numbers of cash cards.

Now, two design engineers at the University of Warwickhave devised a simple plastic shield that could play a role in eliminating the card skimming cash machine fraud that costs banks tens of millions of pounds. Kevin Pearson and Mark Rushton at the University of Warwick‘s Warwick Manufacturing Group devised the plastic shield that can be securely retrofitted to existing ATMs or built-in to the design of future ATMs.

Any attempt to attach a non transparent device such as a camera or skimmer on top of the shield then becomes impossible without being obvious to ATM users. It is also impossible to place a second fake shield on top of the first. That is because the shield is positioned at a distance from the ATM card slot that is just before the limit that the slot will accept and draw in the card.

The Warwick design team have patented their design. They have also won £10,000 worth of development funding from the “Mercia Spinner” (an initiative run by the University of Warwick’s Warwick ventures department and funded by Advantage West Midlands) designed to create technology based “spin out” companies.

They would now like to produce a full scale model of the shield made exactly to the measurements of most ATMs for further testing.