Carytown ATM users report possible skimming, data theft – keep an eye out this holiday season!

by | Dec 21, 2015 | POLITICS

Richmond Police have reported three incidents of ATM fraud in the last month, and Carytown ATMs were all the targets.

Richmond Police have reported three incidents of ATM fraud in the last month, and Carytown ATMs were all the targets.

On Dec. 14, one victim reported his credit card info was taken somehow and used to withdraw funds at an ATM in the 3400 block of West Cary Street.

In a separate incident on Dec. 14, the victim stated her card info was obtained and used to withdraw money from an ATM in the 3200 block of West Cary Street.

On Dec. 15, the victim in a separate incident reported that between Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 someone had withdrawn money from his bank account at an ATM in the 3500 block of West Cary Street.

Detectives believe all three incidents to be occurrences of ATM skimming.

ATM skimming is a technique used by tech-savvy criminals to steal ATM data using a fake-ATM card reader placed over top an ATM.

“Skimmers have been around for years, of course, but thieves are constantly improving them, and the device pictured below is a perfect example of that evolution,” wrote Krebs on Security about the devices. This particular skimmer was found Dec. 6, 2009, attached to the front of a Citibank ATM in Woodland Hills, Calif. Would you have been able to spot this?

image via Krebs on Security

Skimmers can be placed on almost any device that reads a credit card, including gas pumps, or even the card readers on ATM vestibules. When the card is scanned through the skimmer, data is taken and criminals can use it to access your private info or bank account.

The folks at Wells Fargo couldn’t confirm the ATMs reportedly used to withdraw funds were skimmed or not, but they said often data is skimmed at one ATM and money is withdrawn at another – this means, according to Wells Fargo, their ATMs were probably not originally carrying the skimmers.

“Because of the nature of skimming devices and payment information, skimming is inherently an industry-wide issue,” said Kristopher Dahl, a comms person with Wells Fargo’s ATM department. “While I can’t provide any information about specific skimmers at Wells Fargo ATMs, I can say that no city or region appears to be immune to this type of fraud.”

Dahl was unable to confirm if any skimmers had been reported at Wells Fargos ATMs in the last month.

There are steps you can take to avoid being skimmed, according to James Mercante with RPD Public Affairs.

“Check the front face of every ATM by pulling on the front face of the machine to see if it gets dislodged where the card enters, and also look for any attached camera that might be visible on the frame of the ATM,” said Mercante.

RPD said it had been a few years since they’ve heard about skimmers in RVA, but the detectives do believe they were used in these cases.

Dahl over at Wells Fargo said their ATMs are supposed to be regularly inspected, and they take customer’s reports of “unusual activity seriously.”

He also sent us some tips if you think your card has been skimmed:

1 – Shield the keypad at the ATM when you enter your PIN code to ensure that no one can see it.

2 – Be wary of nearby strangers or “good Samaritans” that offer to “help” you if you are having difficulties with a particular ATM.

3 -Ask people to step back if they’re crowding too close to you at the ATM, or leave and come back at another time.

4 – Take care to be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM. You may want to use an ATM inside a Wells Fargo Banking location or have a friend accompany you when using an ATM after dark.

5 – Carefully examine an ATM before you use it. If you see something different than what is pictured on the screen, or the keypad is unresponsive – please use another ATM. If the ATM appears to be malfunctioning, please do not enter your PIN code. Also, please report your suspicions to the bank or owner listed on the ATM.

6 – If an ATM machine “eats” your card, call 1-800-TO-WELLS immediately and put a stop on the card. (Small Business customers: 1-800-CALL-WELLS.)

7 – Check your bank statements regularly – if possible, even daily through online banking. The sooner you spot and report suspicious account activity, the better.

8 – The majority of Wells Fargo ATMs are equipped with surveillance cameras. Surveillance tapes can be examined to retrieve information and help law enforcement officials identify thieves.

9 – Follow only the instructions you see on the ATM screen; ignore any signs or instructions that may be posted outside the ATM and use another ATM. Call 1-800-TO-WELLS (Small Business customers: 1-800-CALL-WELLS) to report this.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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