Crooks Have Your Card and You Don't Even Know It
How crooks copy your credit and debit cards to drain your financial accounts.
May 2, 2008— -- While your ATM card is tucked in your wallet, thieves half a world away could be cloning it and using it. The crime is called "white card fraud," and ABC News investigated just how easy it is for thieves to make a copy of your card and use it to drain your account.
It's difficult to get an exact figure, but it's estimated that identity thieves net an estimated $345 million this way every year. Gary Burkey of Wilmington, Del., discovered somebody was withdrawing money from his account at ATM machines in a part of Pennsylvania he had never even visited.
Criminals get people's numbers in a variety of ways. One way they capture card numbers is by installing skimmer devices over the slot where you insert your card when you use an ATM.
They also use hidden cameras to record your PIN. Miami Beach police have actual footage from a crook's camera in Florida that shows a victim inputting his PIN. Clear as day: 1-4-2-6.
"What makes this really sneaky, really devious, is once the criminals get the account information, they wait on it for a little while, said Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh of the Delaware State Police. They replicate the cards and when the consumer least expects, that's when they go in and hit the account."
ABC News found the machines used to copy cards for sale right on the Internet, even though there are very few legitimate uses for them. We had our choice of 30 machines and bought one for about $500. We were even able to request priority shipping and received the package the next day.
ABC took the device to Chris O'Ferrell, an ethical hacker for a computer company called Command Information, which helps the federal government secure its systems.
We handed over an ABC News credit card and O'Ferrell swiped it so the machine could capture the information on the magnetic strip. Right away, the data popped up on the computer screen: name and account information.
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