Alert! Citibank Scandal Update: It’s Not Just Citibank…

Here’s what’s up with the Citibank card scandal. There’s an ATM crime wave. Not just Citibank customers but anyone could be at risk.

Thieves are stealing debit card information from third-party retailer’s sloppy systems and siphoning money off vulnerable accounts.

PIN codes are supposed to prevent such an attack, but the sheer number of compromised cards indicates the thieves snagged PIN codes as well. These PINs, which are supposed to be destroyed or disposed of after a transaction, can end up accidentally stored in temporary files or other nooks and crannies in poorly designed merchant software systems.

There’s tons of PIN terminals around the world and their oversight and maintenance is left to the individual merchant’s discretion.

If you’re concerned, until much more robust standards are demanded and implemented, choose getting hassled over getting hacked. Avoid PIN transactions and opt to sign a receipt instead.

Or, as David wrote in to remind us, do what they’ve been telling you to do all along: change your PIN frequently. Pick something memorable without it being your birthday or something silly that could easily be found by stealing your wallet. Something like, “I’ve got 3 front windows, 1 car, 2 cats and 0 aliens.”

Or pay in cold, hard, cash. Cash on the barrel head. Like your grandpappy did, you sissy.

Wave of ATM Fraud Indicates Criminals Upped the Ante [MSNBC] (Thanks to Melsky!)

Previously: Massive Citibank Alert: UPDATE


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ben Popken says:

    Lars writes:

    Hey there Consumerist,

    And before such avalanches in security everybody I know thought I was crazy for going the old fashioned route at banks. By withdrawing my money with the help of a teller. Not only does my bank have a sweet Nescafe machine capable of making many flavorful hot beverages (hot chocolate, cappuccino, coffee, tea. How does Nescafe do it?) and nice and friendly bank tellers, I feel better about each transaction. Sure, maybe I’m a little old fashioned and paranoid, but the story on ATM fraud makes me think old fashioned is just plain better.

    – Lars
    Watertown, MA

  2. Bubba Barney says:

    Who has time to go to a bank when there is Gawker media material to be read?

  3. Bubba Barney says:

    On second thought, you have made me think twice about using my ATM card at anyplace except my bank. Guranteed, a hack-free life isn’t 100% possible, but my bank should be safer then a Mini-ATM hooked up to a DSL line at my local convenience store.

  4. Kat2 says:

    Yeah, but back in the late 90s, wasn’t there talk of charging a fee to see a teller?