Stealing from debit cards

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Stealing from debit cards

In a sure sign that identity thieves are developing more sophisticated techniques, dozens of debit cardholders from several banks have found that money was improperly withdrawn from their accounts, but that their cards and bank cards never left their wallets!

The thieves, who are still being sought by state and federal law enforcement agents, used devices at non-bank automated teller machines – probably at small markets and convenience stores, authorities say – that skim the information from a card’s magnetic stripe and simultaneously record the customer’s personal identification number with devices such as a hidden camera or a false cover on a PIN pad.

Fraud feasors are more clever than ever in stealing peoples’ card information, particularly their PIN codes, and the rigging of ATMs is a worldwide problem and is more prevalent in the last years.

In the beginning, fraudsters would place a false card reader over the normal slot. They would also use a camera to record the cardholder’s PIN. But this technique was far from perfect, because they would have to match each card’s information with the correct PIN. The technology was cumbersome, for example, when a card was ejected from a machine, the customer might have noticed that the card was more difficult to remove. Hence the thieves have developed skimming devices that are more elegant in terms of design, so they look like they belong on the ATM.

Fraud feasors now place duplicate PIN pad overlays over actual PIN pads. The device is very thin and within it is a transmitter to record the PIN. So when the cardholder presses down on the PIN pad, both the overlay and the actual PIN pad record the PIN. The transaction goes through, but the cardholder’s information is recorded on the false PIN pad and immediately available to the thieves. The duplication of the ATM card with the victim’s accounts numbers and the new PIN is the easy part. The withdrawing of the money is the fun part.

Spokesmen for the banks confirmed that some customers have fallen prey to this scheme and that the companies are working with law enforcement to catch the thieves, who appear to be working as part of a sizable crime ring, and will restore any money stolen from customers. (Warning – that is if you can make the claim stick; it is never easy to get a loss claim to stick with your bank. You will have only a short time, 30 days or less, from when your statement is mailed to make and document the loss claim to the bank.)

The bankers claim to be “aware of some isolated discrepancies” and we are working with law enforcement authorizes in their investigation. We’re working with any customers who may have been affected to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We regret any inconvenience (loss and time trying to recover the loss) our customers may have experienced.”

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