Lester B. Flat said:
I assume the thieves must have card blanks that they can write the card number to because unlike credit cards that you can phone in the number and expiry date, debit cards have to be swiped and the PIN entered. Or am I wrong?:confused-smiley-010
That's exactly how they do it. They can skim the card by either:
1. Having someone on the inside that swipes it through the skimmer while you're not paying attention.
2. Compromising the actual unit you're putting your card into.
3. By attaching the skimming unit over top of where you'd put your card in the bank machine.
Meanwhile, they're not very far away, watching you punch your pin in through binoculars. Then they have everything. They just write your card info to a blank and go take out 500 bucks a day until you or the bank notices.
This is why you should always, always, ALWAYS cover up your hand when you type your pin in. Now, if the unit that you're using has been compromised, then they're just going to get that info right from the number pad, but there's nothing you can do about that particular scam. Fortunately, I think that one is a little harder to pull off, and it's usually the other two methods.