News

Seen At 11: Scammers Could Use Thermal Imaging To Steal Your PIN

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Scammers are finding new ways to get your personal information, and it is as easy as attaching a new gadget to your iPhone.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, you have heard the warnings to shield the PIN pad as you type the code for your latest purpose.

“You try to make sure no one is looking over your shoulder,” said Peter Dentico of Midtown West.

But NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III on Tuesday tweeted a warning about a new way of stealing personal information.

PINs can be stolen with thermal imaging technology seconds after you have left the register.

Coral DelMar of the Upper West Side said she doesn’t think twice before punching in her keys, but “now, I’m certainly going to be very concerned about it.”

The device attaches to the back of your iPhone like any other case and can capture thermal images. On a store’s PIN pad, the darkest button is the one pressed last and the dimmest the one pressed first – and thus, identity thieves can determine the sequence of the digits in a victim’s PIN.

The good news is that the technology will not work on metal keypads at ATMs – only padded keyboards. But it still puts users at risk.

“You have a bit of a false perception that you have some privacy; that there’s just you and the person and the register,” said Kathy Sayko. “But obviously, you don’t if someone can walk behind you and detect your fingerprints — so it’s a little scary.”

There is a trick to throw off potential thermal imaging scammers. If you put your fingers on other buttons while you type your PIN, it will be almost impossible for anyone to detect your code.

“Confuse the infrared or confuse the person using the infrared a little bit,” said technology writer Arik Hesseldahl. “Make it a little less obvious.”

You can also keep it even simpler as Dentico does.

“I also try not to use my PIN for anything other than at a bank,” he said. “I’ll use credit for most transactions because it’s safer.”

“Maybe I’ll pay cash,” added Sayko.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories: