Over the weekend, U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan told KING 5 news in Seattle that she fell victim to an ATM skimming scam that led to the theft of her debit card information last month. Skimming involves mounting hardware, or skimmers, that look very much like regular ATM parts onto ATMs. The devices read information from the magnetic stripe on the credit or debit card, allowing thieves access to account information. The thieves who skimmed Durkan's card stole $1,000 from her bank account before her bank noticed that something was wrong.
As the Chief Law Enforcement officer for western Washington and Chair of the Justice Department's Cybercrime subcommittee, Durkan is more familiar with information theft crimes than most people. She did admit to being in a rush during the fated transaction, but the fact that someone with her background and knowledge was fooled at all by this skimming hardware frightens me.
Still, I applaud Durkan for speaking out about this incident, as embarrassing as it may have been for her, and for warning others to check for ATM skimming devices. I also wonder if Durkan is now going to join Visa in its push for a more speedy rollout of EMV chip card technology, which is supposedly much more secure than the magnetic stripes currently used by most people in the U.S. (Read my recent blog questioning the security of EMV technology here.)
Watch the KING 5 news report below: