RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Criminals have found a new way to get into your bank account when you use an ATM.
They’re taking advantage of the high-tech feature of the radio chip in your credit or debit cards.
Thefts from ATMs used to be brute-force affairs.
Someone would physically try and steal the device either pulling it out of a store — or bank location with a vehicle.
Another way to take advantage of people using ATMs was to place a skimmer unit on top of the ATM’s card insert slot, which copied your card’s information.
Those fake tops can be detected by simply pulling at them and they’ll pop right off.
Banks have also modified ATMs to make it impossible for criminals to put a skimmer on the card-reading device.
With all those changes, how do the bad guys get into your account through an ATM these days? They get you to use the RFID or Radio Frequency ID chip feature on the card.
“About six months ago, they figured out that you could put a device near the Point Of Sale (POS) terminal, or near the ATM machine,” he said. “They literally steal the signal off the card, get the account number, and get the pin number.”
You won’t know about the theft until you check your account later.
“The next thing you know, you innocently try to use your card and there’s no money left,” said Talcove.
Here’s how it’s done.
Criminals disable the ATM slot so you can’t put your card into the machine, forcing you to use the tap-and-go method.
If you use a debit card instead of a credit card, you’re way more financially vulnerable.
“If you have a debit card and you’re using it to withdraw cash,” said Talcove. “The likelihood of you getting the money back from your bank is almost zero.”
That’s because a debit card offers no protection. Using your credit card at the ATM is a better idea.
“You are protected 100% in this country when you use your credit card, said Talcove. “If someone steals that account number, they steal that pin and then they go use it on a shopping spree someplace, you just call Visa up, and explain it wasn’t you and you’re done.”
If you must use your debit card to get cash, go to a teller and withdraw it directly.
Back in 2013, I reported on how thieves were using the RFID chips in credit cards to electronically pick your pocket.
These days, RFID credit cards use encrypted one-time codes. That’s why thieves have turned to the Tap and Go scheme…
“Because they’re successful, because they’re stealing, and because they’re organized, it scales across the country incredibly fast,” said Talcove.
One other thing when using an ATM — make sure you wait for the prompt asking you if you are finished.
If you don’t say “yes, you’re finished,” the machine stays active for another minute or so —allowing a criminal to walk up behind you and get into your accounts.