A friend said ATM use is traceable easily, while point-of-sale credit card use isn't - this statement goes against my common sense.

I searched for the the topic and this is what I have found:

So, this suggest the opposite is true: POS credit card use is the easiest thing to trace, while ATM is not that traceable.

Any more definitive answer on the subject?

  • The formatting works fine, you just didn't add any. Please read the markdown reference.
    – Polynomial
    Jan 13 '13 at 11:40
  • It says two spaces work for a line break. In this case, doesn't. It doesn't say anything about Enter working as a line break but it use to.
    – superuser
    Jan 13 '13 at 11:46
  • Two line breaks make a line break.
    – Polynomial
    Jan 13 '13 at 11:49
  • I would argue both are equally traceable. An ATM has video camera for both customer protection and the bank's security needs. Its very likely most Points of Sale equipment is also has similar protection. Only takes a warrant to determine who used what card at what time. The bank knows the exact time you used your card, working with law enforcement, wouldn't be hard to who bought what when.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 14 '13 at 12:47
  • @ramhound: I suggest you post your comment as the answer. The bank knows where the card was used and when, and that info is only one search warrant or hack from being exposed. Nov 15 '17 at 1:15

They can always trace an online transaction to a card number if there is a card in the slot, also they can always trace the transaction to the phone line/network connection the ATM/pos terminal uses. Merchant banks are pretty specific in that they log everything they can. Several times usually.

  • The Virginia-Pilot article is just about a case when the police couldn't catch the ATM-hacker.
    – superuser
    Jan 14 '13 at 14:19
  • @superuser I bet they traced the card number (if a card was used) and particular ATM used. I expect the actual guy was using someone else's card or a hack that doesn't require a card and was long gone by the time the police got to the ATM.
    – ewanm89
    Jan 14 '13 at 15:22
  • Most ATMs also have a camera, some more obvious than others, that will take a picture of anyone in front of the ATM when any event of interest occurs (inserting card, entering pin, requesting withdrawal, etc). Most ATMs are also in locations that have decent third-party video surveillance, such as C-stores or in/near the branch bank itself. Of course, balaclavas, scarves etc can easily make this information largely useless, and not all ATMs/venues have cameras of sufficient resolution installed and pointed in the right places.
    – KeithS
    Jan 14 '13 at 18:36

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