A Criminal Flashmob Stole $13M From Japanese ATMs

1400 ATMs were hit in less than three hours.

Japanese yen. — REUTERS
May 23, 2016 at 9:53 AM ET

More than 100 people stole 1.2 billion Japanese yen from ATMs using data stolen from a South African bank in less than three hours.

According to Kyodo News, about 1,400 ATMs were targeted on the morning of May 15. Counterfeit cards using data stolen from South Africa’s Standard Bank withdrew the maximum amount from machines in 7-Elevens across Japan, the BBC said. 7-Eleven’s ATMs, unlike many in Japan, operate around the clock and accept foreign bank cards. This makes them a target for both tourists and, apparently, criminals.

1.2 billion yen is about $12.7 million. If the spree took about two and a half hours, then the mob made off with about $85,000 a minute.

Japanese and South African authorities are currently working together to figure out who the alleged thieves are and how they got the bank’s data. Standard Bank says no customers will be affected.