The unfolding debit card scam that rocked Citibank this week is far from over, an analyst said Thursday as she called this first-time-ever mass theft of PINs "the worst consumer scam to date."
Wednesday, Citibank confirmed that an ongoing fraud had forced it to reissue debit cards and block PIN-based transactions for users in Canada, Russia, and the U.K.
But Citibank is only the tip of the iceberg, said Avivah Litan, a Gartner research vice president. The scam -- and scandal -- has hit national banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Washington Mutual, as well as smaller banks, including ones in Oregon, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, all of which have re-issued debit cards in recent weeks.
"This is the worst hack ever," Litan maintained. "It's significant because not only is it a really wide-spread breach, but it affects debit cards, which everyone thought were immune to these kinds of things."
Unlike credit cards, debit cards offer an additional level of security: the password-like Personal Identification Number, or PIN.