Design of a GSM-Based Skimming Reporting System for Automated Teller Machines

Robert Agyare Ofosu, Mununi Fuseini, Ernest Quaye Nii Atuquaye


In recent years, there has been the unpleasant advent of a new type of credit card fraud called Automated Teller Machine (ATM) skimming. This type of fraud poses a substantial threat to the banking sector because its modus operandi is quite subtler than other known types of ATM fraud. It consists of a criminal implanting a disguised dummy card reader very similar to the ATM’s original card reader at the ATM. This is done to intercept the ATM card data of any unsuspecting customer who tries to withdraw cash. This paper seeks to design a system which will be able to detect and report such devices before they cause harm. The objective of this research was achieved by designing a skimmer incorporating the use of a metal detector for detecting new electronic components within the ATMs card slot region, an ultrasonic sensor for detecting unfamiliar skimmer overlays and the processing power of a microcontroller to coordinate theses sensors which monitor the status of the ATM terminal’s original card reader and send a Short Message Service (SMS) text message whenever the system detects that a skimmer has been attached to the ATM terminal. This concept of skimming detection was designed, tested and simulated under several operating conditions in Proteus 8.0 simulation software to prove the detection method’s efficacy. The simulation results showed that the proposed system provided a decent theoretical skimmer detection technique. However, other factors such as metal detector oscillator instability and the difficulty in accurately modelling the composition of ATM skimmers served as this design’s major drawbacks.

Keywords : ATM, Skimming, GSM, Microcontroller

Full Text:



B. Krebs, “Would You Have Spotted this ATM Fraud?”, Available: https://krebson -this-atm-fraud/. Accessed: November 19, 2017.

Washington State Department of Financial Institution, “ATM Skimming Devices Popping up Across the Country”, Available:https://

lerts/atm–skimming–devices–popping–across-country. Accessed: November 19, 2017.

M. South, “Can’t Hack a Hacker: Reverse Engineering a Discovered ATM Skimmer”, Available: https:// trustfoundry .net/reverse-engineering-a-discovered-atm skimmer/. Accessed: November 20, 2017.

R. Booker, “What is ATM Fraud?”, Available: Accessed: April 10, 2018.

L. Fricker-Gruss, “Analysis of Fraud Perpetrated through Automated Teller Machines: Strategic Solutions that will Assist Financial Institutions in Reducing Loss”, BSc Project Report, Utica College, New York, 55pp, 2012.

L. Gunn, “European ATM Crime Report”, European ATM Security Team Ltd, Europe, 30pp, 2014.

B. Krebs, (2016), “A Dramatic Rise in Skimming Attacks?”, Available: https:/

/ Accessed: November 19, 2017.

E. E. Abbey, “Three Nigerians Busted; For Stealing GH¢3 million through ATM Fraud”, Available: Accessed: April 9, 2018.

A. O. Sarpong, “Two Bulgarians Grabbed for ATM Fraud”, Available:

d-for-atm-fraud/. Accessed: April 9, 2018.

R. Arnfield, “Why EMV-Compliant ATMs Need Anti-Skimming Technology”, Available: Accessed: April 9, 2018.

M. Anderka, T. Klerx, S. Priesterjahn, and H. K. Büning “Automatic ATM Fraud Detection as a Sequence-Based Anomaly Detection Problem”, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Pattern Recognition Applications and Methods, Angers, France, 6pp, 2014.

R. R. Gooli and B. Imthiazunnisa, “Design and Implementation of Anti-Theft ATM Machine Using Raspberry Pi”, International Journal and Magazine of Engineering, Technology, Management and Research, Vol.2, 2015, No.11, 4pp, 2015.

K. A. M. Musallam and K. N. Smitha, “Detecting Skimming Devices in ATM through Image Processing”, Available: er=7507139. Accessed: October 12, 2017.

K. H. S. Sivaprasad and B. K. Vijay, “Design and Implementation of Anti-Theft ATM Machine Using Embedded Systems”, International Journey and Magazine of Engineering Technology, Management and Research, Vol.3, 2016, No.3, 7pp, 2016.

B. R. Rao, P. Rao, G. N. Rachana and B. V. Sushma, “Design and Implementation of High End Multiple Security Based ATM Monitoring System”, International Journal on Recent and Innovation Trends in Computing and Communication, Vol. 4, 2016, No. 4, pp. 531-535, 2016.

P. Banu, P. Kavith, T. Ashoh, N. Logesh-Kumar and M. Chandrasekar, “Smart ATM Access and Security System using RFID and GSM Technology”, International Journal of Scientific Research and Education, Vol. 4, 2016, No. 6, pp. 5505 – 5509, 2016.

A. M. Lawan, “Use of Biometrics to Tackle ATM Fraud”, 2010 International Conference on Business and Economics Research, IACSIT Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pp. 331-335, 2010.

J. Bowen, “How ATMs Work”, Available: Accessed: April 9, 2018.

C. W. Mooreland, “BFO Theory”, Avaiable: /info/bfotheory/bfo.pdf. Accessed: February 22, 2018.

F. Le Mantec, “Metal Detection: Beat Frequency Oscillator”, Available: Accessed: April 4, 2018.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.




 Statistic and Traffic