Thieves Use 'Skimming' Devices to Steal Info at ATMs - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Target 2: Thieves Use 'Skimming' Devices to Steal Info at ATMs

Updated:
ATM Skimming Device ATM Skimming Device

A statewide alert is going out after customers at a Milwaukee-area bank fell victim to what's known as skimming.

Skimming is an unsuspecting way thieves steal personal banking information at ATM machines.

A skimming device was recently planted on an ATM outside a Waukesha bank, stealing card numbers and pin numbers, giving crooks access to customer bank accounts.
 
Police say the suspect could be part of an international ring trying to rip off ATM users across the midwest.

The case has Fox Valley authorities sending out a warning to businesses and neighborhood watch groups.

"You know it's coming closer.  The Fox Valley isn't what it once was, we're no longer a small town. So it can happen here--I think it can happen anywhere," said Tonni Larson, President, KIM Central Credit Union, Menasha.

Once the card is skimmed, thieves make a counterfeit card to access the account.

Officer Jason Weber of the Town of Menasha Police Department says cases of skimming in Northeast Wisconsin are rare, but it pays to look over an ATM in your hometown or any time you're traveling.

"Check the machine out before you go and use ATM," said Officer Weber. "A lot of times these devices are crudely attached."

Here's what you want to do before you swipe your ATM card:

  • Physically shake the slot where you're going to enter the card. A skimmer is loosely placed over the top.
  • Cover the area where you're entering your pin number, because if there's a recording device, you're protecting your personal pin.

And more good advice:

"Always check bank or financial statements," Officer Weber said. "Keep track of charges and activity so you can spot something out-of-ordinary rather quickly."

If you see something suspicious, report it to your financial institution.  They will close the card.

Larson tells us debit and credit cards in the U.S. could eventually be equipped with a microchip, rather than magnetic strip that stores all the card data.  Chip technology makes it extremely difficult to copy.

RELATED LINKS:

Wisconsin Crime Alert Network

WISN Report on Skimming Device in Waukesha

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