Connect with us


Opinion: Phuket – ATM skimmers’ paradise island

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Despite efforts nationwide to upgrade automatic teller machine (ATM) card technology to make it more secure, the arrests of three groups of international ATM-card skimmers in Phuket in a week demonstrates that ATM fraud is rampant on the island.

ATM users – which includes just about everyone with a bank account – should continue to exercise a great deal of caution when conducting transactions to ensure that they do not fall prey to these high-tech, low-life embezzlers, who appear to have established a hub for their nefarious activities right here in Phuket.

The recent arrests started with the apprehension of five French nationals operating in Chalong and Kamala on February 28 (story here), followed by the arrest six days later in Krabi of two more Frenchmen found in possession of hundreds of cloned ATM cards (story here), all said to have been purchased from a foreigner in Phuket.

Believing that both groups involved in the arrests were part of a wider network, police continue to investigate in order to track down the ringleaders, suspected to be based in Patong.

Meanwhile, at the time of going to press, Phuket Provincial Police were also hunting down Russian national Vladimir Orlov (story here), the alleged mastermind of another ATM-card skimming operation run out of his shop in Kata. Thanks to surveillance and cooperation by security personnel at the affected bank, three of his alleged accomplices were taken into police custody at the premises on March 5.

These arrests, as well as the evidence collected thereupon, seems to indicate that all phases of the ATM skimming process are taking place on the island, from stealing digital information to using it to clone cards and conduct illegal transactions.

Thailand and Indonesia have been identified by the non-profit group European ATM Security Team as the two countries with the greatest risk of ATM skimming. It is particularly rife in mass tourism destinations such as Phuket and Bali, where so many people come and go, and many tourists still use old-fashioned magnetic strip ATM cards. Once a user’s personal identification number (PIN) is obtained, either by covert camera surveillance or simply by peeking over the shoulder of an unsuspecting ATM user, it is only a matter of time before his or her accounts are emptied.

Fortunately, a few simple and easy precautions can go a long way in protecting cardholders from having their hard-earned assets plundered. These include such easy steps as regularly changing one’s PIN and covering the keypad when entering the number.

ATM skimming is just one part of an increasingly complex and ever-changing world of digital crime that reflects the head-spinning pace of technological change that can easily overwhelm even the most tech-savvy among us. With so much out there, it becomes necessary to decide which technologies to focus on – and which to avoid.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

World53 mins ago

Hanoi to ease Covid restrictions this week

Thailand2 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Thailand2 hours ago

Government believes more suspects involved in theft from budget meant for the disabled

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand3 hours ago

Dual Pricing and Reduced tax on Alcohol | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 92

Thailand3 hours ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok4 hours ago

Bangkok residents warned of flooding risk as torrential rain forecast this week

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Government seeks to regulate infectious waste disposal charges

World4 hours ago

Manny Pacquiao to run for president of the Philippines

Economy5 hours ago

Cuts to import duty on alcohol, cigars, part of plan to entice wealthy foreigners

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Phuket officials launch mass testing campaign in high-risk communities

Thailand5 hours ago

DDC plans to vaccinate 1 million people a day starting Friday

Coronavirus Vaccines5 hours ago

Doctors say cardiac arrest caused death of man given AstraZeneca booster shot

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 106 deaths and 12,709 new cases

Drugs20 hours ago

Meth busts yield 882,000 pills and 5.6kg of meth in Songkhla

Protests20 hours ago

Coup anniversary marked by car mob with over 1000 vehicles

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand6 days ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11