Magnetic Strips Leaving Consumers Exposed As Debit Card Hacking Grows Fivefold In Five Years

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Criminals are becoming more attracted to hacking consumer debit cards, as reports of fraud involving debit cards, PIN numbers, and card processing equipment has increased fivefold over the past five years. This Wall Street Journal article cautions that similar scams previously targeted bank ATMs but now include card processors at gasoline pumps and retail chains. Unlike Europeans — who are given debit cards with more secure (yet more costly) microchips — Americans use debit cards with less-secure, cheaper magnetic strips. Thieves use a variety of methods to capture the data, including replacing the stores’ card processing machines with ones already embedded with skimmers; placing ultra-tiny cameras on the processors; or installing a membrane over key pads that can record keystrokes.

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.