Friday, May 13, 2011

There Is Real Money In Credit/Debit Card Fraud

Every time I hear of some thug knocking over a convenience store and getting $50 and a carton of menthol cigarettes for his trouble, I wonder why they don't find a more lucrative crime to commit like this interesting criminal enterprise detailed over at the Chicago Tribune:
Michaels Stores says the debit card fraud stemming from tampered checkout terminals is far more pervasive than initially thought, encompassing not just Illinois but 19 other states.

The scope of the crime has surprised security experts and exposed the vulnerabilities of debit cards, a method of payment that many shoppers have come to rely on for everyday purchases.

Debit card fraud is worse for consumers than fraud involving credit cards because little stands between thieves and the money in bank accounts. In the case of Michaels' stores, many customers had money stolen directly from their accounts via ATM withdrawals.

The crafts-store chain identified 90 keypads in 80 stores that were compromised in Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
Of course it takes a bit more coordination to get into 90+ stores and replace their debit/credit card swipe keypads, harvest the data, create fake cards and start draining accounts but the dollar values stolen must be huge.

You'd think the banking industry would come up with a technology a bit more secure than that of a easily duplicated magnetic stripe and a 4 digit PIN. Of course, about the time they do, it won't be too long before the thieves try to crack that method too. I bet this method of payment would be a lot harder crack though.

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