Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bogus Chinese ATM

Beijing cops bust bogus ATM

AOL News

TAIPEI, Taiwan (June 25) -- Talk about a get-rich-quick scheme.

Chinese police busted a man who installed a fake ATM in Beijing in order to steal unwitting users' bank accounts and personal identification numbers, according to a Beijing TV news report translated at

The case highlights the proliferation of fraud, petty crime and fakery in today's go-go China, as millions hustle for an edge amid the country's headlong drive toward modernization.

Police arrested a 30-year-old and charged him with fraud, the report said, and removed the fake ATM for further investigation. The man, surnamed Huang, confessed to the scheme and said his machine could record users ATM card numbers and PINs.

Screenshot from showing a fake bank ATM that was draining the accounts of customers in Beijing

Chinese police arrested a man in Beijing who installed this fake ATM to access bank users' information.

The report did not say how many people the machine fooled, but noted that "customers who used this 'ATM' soon found that all their money in the bank account disappeared without a trace."

Taiwan's Apple Daily reported that a customer who tried to use the machine got an error message on the screen saying, "This ATM is temporarily out of service," only to find two days later that all 2,100 renminbi (about $300) in his account was gone. Calls to an emergency number posted on the machine reached a bank, which said it had no ATM at that location.

The Apple Daily quoted a local person who said, "Now even ATMs are fake -- there's no way to defend yourself."

But a policeman said the fake ATM was so shoddily made that any observant user should have realized it wasn't the real thing.

"As you can see, here there's some leftover glue," he told Beijing TV. "The slot where receipts are supposed to come out is actually solid inside -- it's just a metal plate glued onto the machine. And the slot where cash is supposed to come out is also sealed shut.

"The overhead security camera is just a piece of plastic, and there is no logo or name of any specific bank on the machine. Therefore, alert citizens could easily see that this is a fake ATM," he said.

The Beijing TV news report dubbed the ersatz cash-cougher a "shanzhai" ATM, using popular Chinese slang for a knockoff product. The term literally means "mountain stronghold" and was originally coined to describe ultra-cheap, imitation or generic cell phones and other gadgets, most made in small, obscure factories in southern China.

"Shanzhai" reports have filled the Chinese media and Internet, including a recent report on a man who built his own knockoff Lamborghini; China's homegrown answer to,; Kentucky Fried Chicken clones; and even fake universities.

Last year, two Taiwanese grifters were busted in Thailand for swindling mainland Chinese marks out of some 10 million baht (about $300,000) in a wide-scale ATM con. Credit card fraud is also on the rise in China, according to a recent report in the China Daily.

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