Over the past several months there has been an overhaul of bank cards. Stealing money and personal information from cards with just a magnetic strip on the back was becoming too easy. There was even a $400 million credit card crime spree.
Banks started sending their customers new cards in the mail that included computer chips and advised everyone to get rid of the old cards.
Many businesses accommodated for the change by upgrading to payment machines that have chip readers. However, some stores still don't have the improved machine or if they do you still need to swipe your card because the reader is not yet operational.
So in addition to faulty payment machines, you may need to be cautious with ATMs as well.
At this year's Black Hat briefings, which is a computer security conference, Weston Hecker showed the audience how a "shimmer" allows thieves to steal tens of thousands of dollars from an ATM in minutes.
In the same way that a skimmer copies information from the magnetic strip, a shimmer copies information from the chip. The device sends the data it collects to the thief's smartphone. From there it's sent to La Cara, a device that imitates debit and credit cards. Then the thief has access to your funds.
There is one minor upside.
When your money is stolen from the magnetic strip, criminals have access to your money until you realize it and cancel the card. But La Cara can only imitate a card for about a minute, so when money is stolen from the chip the scam only works for a short period of time.
To read more about Hecker's presentation, click here.