‘No Technology Is Perfect’: Chip Cards Not As Secure As Once Thought

PITTSBURGH (CBS) – The chip card was pitched to consumers as a solution to fraud.

Pat Heidkamp was a believer. Then, she noticed several mysterious transactions.

Among the possibilities: The card was used at a retailer that still “swipes,” which is less secure. Or, the chip card is not invincible.

Jeremy Hajek is a cyber-security professor at IIT. He says hackers can install a device called a “shimmer” inside the chip reader or ATM.

When you insert your card, at the same time your withdrawal or purchase is being processed thieves can electronically steal that unique code and PIN and send it to a hacked ATM at another location.

Donna Pellegrino wonders if she was a victim. She became suspicious when she saw a $200 ATM withdrawal in Atlanta.

After months of disputing the charge, Chase admitted there was a computer glitch and the ATM was actually in Naperville. The bank returned Pellegrino’s money but she still insists she did not make the withdrawal.

“The key thing to know is no technology is perfect,” says Abraham Scarr, of Illinois PIRG.

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So, consumers have to be vigilant. Set a low limit, maybe only $50 for ATM withdrawals and set an alert by text or email for any time your debit or credit cards are used.

Another tip. Check your statements every couple of days. And, just like with your debit card, you can set alerts on your credit card.

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