WOODBURY - Criminals are stealing card data from ATMs at the highest rate in two decades, and they are using high-tech skimmers to do so, according to credit-scoring firm FICO.

The thieves install skimmer devices that are virtually undetectable by customers. They are able to steal information when you slide your card through, and they also frequently install cameras that record your PIN as it is entered.

The stolen information is then often used to make counterfeit cards that can be used to withdraw cash and make purchases.

The hacking trend is creating problems for banks and other companies, which are now racing to issue new cards with computer chips that make it harder for thieves to create counterfeits.

To protect yourself from data thieves, experts say to avoid using ATMs that have wires sticking out. They also advise using your hand to cover the keypad when entering a PIN and say to avoid using non-bank locations where the machines are more accessible to thieves.

There was a rash of data thefts reported last year at Long Island Rail Road stations, including the one in Baldwin.