this is "nightline." >> tonight, skim bilk. the sophisticated and diabolical new ways scammers are helping themselves to your hard-earned cash. >> this is very easy, and it's a lot of money. >> and that chip that was supposed to do the trick? don't count on it. but there are new ways to protect yourself from high-tech credit and debit card skimming. plus, it may have the look and the luster of the city of light or the romance of venice, but don't be fooled by these far east fakes. >> the eiffel tower. >> our bob woodruff taking us on a colorful journey of copycat towns springing up all over china. even a wild, wild west. but where is everybody? plus, the apocalyptic prank two brothers pull on their little sister.
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good evening. even though they're criminals, you've got to marvel at their ingenuity. you are about to see the extraordinary lengths to which identity thieves will to steal your credit card information. so will those new chips on all of our cards make any difference? abc's nick watt tonight on what you can do to protect your money. >> reporter: a gas station in miami beach, florida. watch the chatty guy in the tight aquamarine polo. he points. the clerk, distracted. while she's gone, watch his alleged accomplice. in mere seconds he slips an identical cover over the store's card reader, a device police believe will automatically steal your card details when you think you're just making a purchase. you'll have no idea you've just been skimmed. robert siciliano is a cybercrime expert. >> unfortunately, when it comes to stealing credit card information, it's as easy as swiping your card in any skimming device. >> reporter: now watch this. a hidden camera inside a gas pump in arizona.
those fingers an alleged thief apparently searching for the skimmers he'd earlier placed in the pump to har jest card info. >> he put those in there. for whatever reason they're not there anymore. i know why. because i have them. >> reporter: shawn marquez took out the skimmers and installed a nightvision spy camera instead. >> we have the first ever video of organized bad guys actually trying to retrieve their skimmers. >> reporter: credit card fraud is now a $16 billion a year problem in the u.s. alone. skimmers every day, every hour stealing your digits. >> they can use those 16 digits over the phone to place a phone order. they can use them online to plug it into a website. or they can actually clone a card. they can burn the information onto a blank atm or credit card and use that out in the wild. >> reporter: still not afraid? listen to this reformed credit card thief. >> it's very easy, and it's a
lot of money. so anything i wanted i would just go out and get for free using these cards. >> reporter: dan defilippi is poacher turned gamekeeper. >> somebody turned my partner in and he turned me in. >> reporter: then defilippi started working for the secret service, teaching agents how to stop skimmers helping themselves to the data on our magnetic strips. >> when the magnetic stripe was created identity theft wasn't an issue, and so the data was never properly encorrupted. once criminals figured it out, obviously it has become a huge issue. >> reporter: now this is the latest weapon in the fight against credit card triem. >> this right here is the recently issued standard chip and signature card. it is supposed to eliminate the cloning of your credit cards. >> reporter: because the chip holds your data encrypted. you may have recently received one in the mail from your bank. it's the panacea. it's going to solve the whole problem. no, it's not. >> skimming is still alive and well, and it will continue to be
alive and well as long as that magnetic stripe is still in the back of our cards. >> i'll have that cheesy tomatoey one and water. >> reporter: still there because it's taking a long time and a lot of money --? you don't do chip? >> no. it's just a swipe. >> just a swipe. >> reporter: to make the switch. so most cards now have a chip with all my details on it. >> it's not actually encrypted because they can easily have what's called a wedge-type device, a small skimming device that can grab all the information off of it, and they could actually create a whole other credit card. so watch them closely. >> reporter: watch this mcdonald's drive-thru clerk in florida swipes once through the skimmer, once through the register so fast you have no idea. cops say he was stealing digits from up to 70 cards every shift. >> and they actually were able to catch the individual sliding the card and then grabbing the receipt and hand it to me, all in one nice movement. you'd never know that he was doing anything wrong. he seemed to always be smiling.
he was getting more than minimum wage. >> reporter: the clerk pled guilty, got two years probation. or there's this. i'm about to steal this coffee drinker's credit card details with an app on my phone. surreptitiously placed on her wallet for just a few seconds. so to stop that happening to you you can buy what's called a shielded wallet like this. a wallet that blocks scanning devices. there's also the signal vault, as seen on abc's "shark tank." >> our efield technology makes your information invisible to hackers. >> reporter: looks like a credit card, has the same blocking powers as the shielded wallet. or the cheaper option, you can cover all of your credit cards in aluminum foil. kool and the gang. and with that magnetic strip still in place, the atm also a potential danger. >> be aware that at any given point in time there could be a skimming device on the face of that atm. >> reporter: this might sound
stupid but check that there's nothing jiggling around that looks like it's been attached onto the front of the atm. sao paolo, brazil. looks like a normal atm. think again. watch this cop pull off the false front that'll harvest your credit card details when you think you're just withdrawing a little walking around money. >> also make sure that you cover up the actual keypad with your other hand as you punch in your pin code because there could be a camera anywhere recording your pin number. >> reporter: robert siciliano has an atm in his garage. >> when criminals set up a skim scam, there's generally two parts to the scam. one would be a small wireless camera here hidden behind this mirror. this takes video footage of the keypad as you're punching in your pin code. in addition to the camera, of course, is the skimming device. the skimming device fits on the face of the atm. so when you swipe your card through, it grabs the information off the back of the magnetic strip.
even if a consumer has a chip card, it doesn't make a difference because all atms here in the u.s. still use the magnetic stripe. >> reporter: now, as chips on cards catch on, thieves will move increasingly to so-called card not present transactions, where the chip means nothing. like online shopping. >> sweet procomplex clothes dryer transition duct 1098. just tap in the digits. >> nick, stop what you're doing. whenever you use free public wi-fi, always know that somebody within 500 feet can always sniff your data. the problem with free wi-fi is that it's unencrypted and unprotected. make sure you have what's called a vpn, a virtual private network that encrypts and locks down your information on free wi-fi. >> reporter: and three top tips in that same vein. don't use 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 as your password on accounts. get complex. it helps. >> and making sure you have strong and long passwords and have a different password for every account and also consider a password manager. >> reporter: and check your
statements. it's the only way you'll know you've been skimmed. >> some studies show that as many as 9 out of 10 consumers don't actually pay attention to their credit card statements. >> reporter: even sign up for alerts that ping you every time your card is used. banks and businesses are now spending billions to change to the chip. but will they be able to stay one step ahead of the skimmers? >> researchers in a controlled environment have been able to get information off of chip cards. whereas out in the wild criminal hackers haven't actually been able to crack the code as far as we know. >> reporter: as far as we know. are you reassured by that? oh. and miami beach detectives say that these men, yep, slipping that skimmer over the gas station card reader, detectives say they are still at large. i'm nick watt for "nightline" in los angeles. next, house hunting? there's plenty of room in paris. well, the chinese version of
paris. they've also got a venice and a london. so why are they ghost towns? abc's bob woodruff on a bizarre odyssey. i struggle with bipolar depression, and it's hard. i miss out on life's little moments. ♪ so i talked to my doctor and he prescribed latuda. there are many forms of depression. latuda is fda approved to treat bipolar depression, which is different from other types of depression. in clinical studies, once-a-day latuda was proven effective for many people struggling with bipolar depression. latuda is not for everyone. call your doctor about unusual mood changes, behaviors, or suicidal thoughts. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. elderly dementia patients on latuda have an increased risk of death or stroke. call your doctor about fever, stiff muscles and confusion, as these may be signs of a life-threatening reaction, or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements, as these may be permanent. high blood sugar has been seen with
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♪ okay. so now one of the strangest real estate stories you may ever see. entire cities designed to look like paris, venice, london, even jackson hole, wyoming. so why doesn't anybody want to live there? here's abc's bob woodruff. >> reporter: ah, paris. one of the most beautiful cities in the world. >> [ speaking french ].
♪ >> reporter: the eiffel tower. look at that place. but wait a minute. paris in well, not exactly. welcome to tiendru chung, china. an entire city built to look like paris, france. complete with iconic architecture, picturesque fountains, spacious public squares, and thousands of apartments to live in. meet one of the inhabitants. rachel moved here six years ago. so what do you think of this being paris right here? >> yeah. how do you think? >> reporter: is it strange to you? >> yes. i think a little strange. >> reporter: you live here? >> i don't like it here. >> reporter: she says she is not exactly feeling the joie de vivre. and apparently almost no one else is either. >> these developers, while they
may have copied so much else about the west in these developments, they may have forgotten the most important thing of all, which is the role of supply and demand. >> reporter: a victim of the speculative real estate bubble currently gripping china and roiling stock markets worldwide. paris now virtually a ghost town. streets empty. stores vacant. they've got the laundry hanging right in front of their house. for so few people there seems to be quite a lot of laundry hanging almost everywhere. there's laundry on the tree. fourth floor. >> yeah. >> reporter: so you have the penthouse. >> yeah. you want to see? >> reporter: yeah, yeah, yeah. the very top. in paris it would be a dream to have this view. wow. >> the view is good. >> reporter: yeah. >> the view. >> reporter: in fact, the view is getting better and better because this is no isolated phenomenon. all over china copycat european cities from mock london to faux venice sprouting up by the hundreds. >> these are not just cheap
knockoffs. >> reporter: bianca bosker, an author and journalist, says in china these communities function almost like designer logos. even if undervalued right now. >> these are brands. these landmarks, these icons, they are status symbols in their own way. >> reporter: in the classical chinese city of sujo, known for its unique architecture and waterways, this venice of china has felt the need to add dozens of clone bridges. paris's pont deand alexander iii. and their crowning glory, a version of london's tower bridge. why do they do this? one reason, says boscer, is a reaction against a long history of communism. >> even a generation ago, for example, it wasn't up to individuals and families to really decide how they were living, where and in what way. and be able to make that chase is in its own way a very important kind of revolutionary option for contemporary chinese families. >> reporter: if you want to get away from communism, just drive
out of beijing, past china's great wall, into the hills. it's wyoming. ish. we are here. that's right. jackson hole. cowboys and of course route 66. it doesn't actually go through wyoming. but they are trying. so if you really want to americanize this place, put route 66 on the street. they did get the snow right. but even that's a duplication. if you thought this was real snow, well, here's the secret. they make it, fake. unlike other duplitecture towns, this one sold well. this one the realtor showed us cost almost $2 million. >> this is gigantic. >> reporter: perhaps because it's only about an hour and a half away from the often polluted chinese capital. why is it a lot of people want to live in an american type town? >> the lifestyle.
>> reporter: oh, you want the lifestyle. this is very, very american. if you want something slightly more refined, head to the suburbs of shanghai. this is the thames town. as in the river thames of london. >> i don't know this place before. >> reporter: do you like it? >> yeah. >> reporter: it's more like a british theme park. harry potter statue, check. winston churchill, of course. you don't know who he is? he's winston churchill. then there's the tudor architecture. little neighborhoods like this remind me a lot of london from when i lived there. it's got the same doors, the same walls. >> reporter: the iconic red phone booths. and security guards dressed in british uniforms. what's it like to wear a british uniform like this? like paris, it was supposed to be a busy town, filled with
residents. but they never came. it's mostly now for wedding pictures. everywhere. let's count the number of wedding photographs. i'm counting them now. one. two down there. three. four. five. six. six. and now these ghost towns are endangered in a whole new way. the chinese government has recently announced that these knockoff cities are at odds with socialist core values and says it wants to give them more chinese traditional names. but for now if you come to china -- >> you're finnish. you're from finland? >> yes. >> reporter: and get home sick for your home town. you can probably find it somewhere over here. for "nightline" i'm bob woodruff in paris. i mean hang zho, china. >> our thanks to bob woodruff. and you can take a virtual reality tour of this city on your own by visiting abcnews.com/vr. up next here, the young woman fresh out of dental surgery
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and finally tonight here, one of the cruellest and funniest pranks i've seen in a long time. >> you ready? >> of course i'm not ready. i don't want to do this. >> this is millicent. she's just had her wisdom teeth pulled. she's in that post-anesthesia haze when all of a sudden an alert comes across the radio. >> state and local officials have reported cases of high fever, nausea, death and even cannibalism. >> reporter: a call from mom confirms the news. >> you need to get home right now. >> don't move. >> what? ♪ cannibals? zombi zombies? >> reporter: no, it's not a scene out of "the walking dead." it is a prank pulled off by her
brothers, they say, who posted the hoax online. the video quickly going viral, with more than 4 million youtube views and counting. you can see here millicent's brothers begin mock preparing for the worst, throwing garden equipment and other weapons into the back seat. >> kevin, a garden hoe isn't what we want. we have guns. why are you putting garden equipment -- >> i'll get the guns. >> -- in the car? what is this supposed to do for me? get me a knife. >> reporter: watch as she's forced to make some tough decisions. >> we can only take one pet. which pet? the cat or the dog? >> the cat, you idiot! >> reporter: they talk about heading to mexico. but when asked about her spanish -- >> i can say pants. >> reporter: after thoroughly freaking their sister out, the brothers gently bring the hoax to an end. >> there's no zombie apocalypse. >> oh. >> she may never speak to her brothers again. alternatively, she may never go to the dentist again. thank you for watching abc news tonight.