Thieves targeting ATMs are now using a new generation of "skimming" device. Unlike previous devices that fit over existing card acceptance slots to read magnetic stripe information, they are virtually undetectable ultrathin units that can be inserted directly into slots. When used in combination with a small camera, thieves can capture both magnetic stripe information as well as the password entered into the keypad. This information allows them to manufacture a duplicate card that is indistinguishable from the original to ATMs.
According to reports, the new card skimmers recently made their appearance in Europe. While virtually all European cards are issued with the more secure chip-and-PIN or EMV technology, traditional magnetic stripes are also included for backward compatibility with noncompliant institutions.
In the U.S., financial institutions scheduled to begin issuing EMV-based cards next year will also continue to include magnetic stripes on cards for the same reason. Slow adoption of EMV technology in the U.S. could make American consumers the most likely target of skimmers.
SLIMMED DOWN: A new generation of ultra-thin card skimmers fit directly into the card acceptance slots of ATMs. The new criminal technology has already made its appearance in Europe