When geeks get ahold of a 3D printer, they immediately start drooling over the prospect of custom-made Warhammer figures and replica BFGs. When crooked geeks get ahold of a 3D printer, they apparently start scheming up ways to bilk normal folks out of their money. Federal prosecutors say a ring of four individuals did just that when they used the nifty devices to create realistic-looking ATM skimmers to steal the debit card info – and soon thereafter, money – of Texas citizens.
Brian Krebs reports
that Jason Lall, John Paz, John Griffin and Albert Hernandez turned to technology after Lall, the gang’s leader and obtainer of traditional skimming devices, went to prison in 2009. Authorities say Paz programmed the 3D printer and created the skimmers, Hernandez obscured security cameras and installed the skimmers on the ATMs, and Griffin primarily withdrew cash with the stolen information. Lall allegedly dipped his fingers in all aspects of the scheme.
Traditional skimmers that slide over an ATM’s card slot cost anywhere from $2K to $10K, while Krebs reports that the high-end 3D printer needed to pull off this kind of scam probably set the crew back between $10k and $20K. That may seem like a big chunk of change, but prosecutors say the ring made good money on their investment; the four men are alleged to have stolen over $400,000 since August 2009.
Note: the skimmer in the picture was not one created by the gang.