People should be very cautious when using their debit cards. Four men were indicted by U.S. federal prosecutors for allegedly stealing personal bank account information using recording technology on ATMs and garnering over $1.5 million.
The men are accused of what is known as skimming. They recorded the account information from users’ magnetic stripe on their debit cards while also capturing the Personal Identification Number by placing fake covers over the number pads.
The case is a particularly scary one as the criminals brazenly entered bank branches and tampered with card readers right near the tellers. Most crooks who practice skimming will go late at night to fit the devices on outdoor ATM machines, being wary of nearby cameras that monitor the machines.
What They Did
According to the reports, the men replaced the PIN pads with identical pads that recorded the PIN as well as the card’s account information and then remotely transmitted it back to them.
They also apparently collected card information by fitting card readers outside the normally locked ATM vestibules for when people would insert their debit cards into the slot to access the bank ATMs after hours.
Perhaps the scariest part is what they did afterward. Once they got the card information, they then allegedly used a special tool to encode the account information onto random cards with magnetic stripes, like ordinary gift cards. With the cards encoded and PINs in hand, they began making withdrawals just like anyone else.
The maximum sentences for their charges if convicted exceed 60 years in prison.