Debit machines stealing PINs in Vancouver

Handheld debit machines in police evidence bag

Have you used a debit card in Vancouver, Canada recently? If so, check your next bank statement carefully and contact your bank immediately if there are any unauthorized transactions.

The Vancouver Sun says

Police fear that thousands of people may be caught in a sophisticated financial scam that used “parasite” handheld debit machines to skim PIN numbers and steal cash.

The suspects are alleged to have switched retail debit PIN pads — unbeknownst to cashiers and business owners — with tampered ones. Police suspect these machines were then collected and the information stolen in order to steal money.

If you want to be extra cautious, go to your bank and change your PIN on your ATM card. It’s a good idea to change your password every once in a while anyway.

Read more about offline security


  1. Comment by Computer Grrl — 9 July 2007 @ 7:47 pm

    is there any risk, do you know, of debit card machines being tapped by a wireless network?

  2. Comment by Ian Saxon — 9 July 2007 @ 8:31 pm

    @ Computer Grrl: I haven’t heard of anything like that. As far as I know, debit card readers are connected to modems by wires and don’t have wireless capability, but I am no expert in this area.


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