A Texas-based criminal gang has been using state-of-the-art 3D printers to make ATM skimming devices, according to US officials.
In a case picked up by security blogger Brian Krebs, in June a gang of four men were indicted on charges related to skimming that saw them allegedly steal more than $400,000 between August 2009 and June 2011.
According to an affidavit from a US Secret Service special agent, an undercover informant has recordings of gang members discussing how they decided to purchase the 3D printer to make skimming devices.
3D printers take computer images and build them into models by placing layers of powder which are then heated and hardened with lasers in a process explained in this video from vendor i.materialise posted by Krebs:
3D printing in action from i.materialise on Vimeo.
According to Krebs, authorities believe members of the gang decided to use the technology when their leader Jason Lall was jailed in 2009, leaving the rest unable to procure their own skimmers.
The gang members clubbed together to buy a printer and the group's techie John Paz then built the skimming devices, which were placed on JP Morgan Chase ATMs in Texas after another crook, Albert Richard had covered or spray painted security cameras.
The card information gleaned was then encoded onto counterfeits by Paz before John Griffin, the fourth member, withdrew the stolen cash - over $400,000 in just under two years - say authorities.