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Electronic Fund Transfer Fraud

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1985

This report describes the nature and incidence of crimes involving two types of electronic funds transfer systems: automatic teller machines and wire transfers.


Data came from a pilot sample of 16 American banks, all but 1 of which had deposits above $1 billion. They produced estimates that about $70 million to $100 million is lost nationwide in fraud related to automatic teller machines. Unauthorized transactions with a lost or stolen card were the most common source of losses. However, the losses from this form of fraud appear to be considerably less than for credit card fraud. Wire transfer losses from fraud were rare. Errors leading to fraud were generally committed by bank employees and generally related to the duplication of messages and payments. A sample of bank managers and wire transfer experts estimated that losses from wire transfer fraud would increase about 70 percent over the next 5 years. Ongoing assessment of risks for fraud is needed, as is concern about automatic teller machine fraud, which affects more of the general public than does electronic funds transfer. Data on the nature of automatic teller machine incidents involving lost or stolen cards, data tables, and 11 reference notes are supplied.

Date Published: March 1, 1985