Bank ATM's Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers
A team of organized criminals are installing equipment
on legitimate bank ATM's in at least two regions to steal both the ATM
card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the
information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment
they install on the front of the ATM (see photos).
If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM
and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone
on the front of the ATM.
The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and
PIN are cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer"
is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM
card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.
At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet
holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries. The thieves
copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many
accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.
Equipment being installed on front of existing bank card
The equipment as it appears installed over the normal
ATM bank slot.
The PIN reading camera being installed on the ATM is housed
in an innocent looking leaflet enclosure.
The camera shown installed and ready to capture PIN's by looking down
on the keypad as you enter your PIN.
For more information, contact Becky L. Walden, Pennsylvania
State Police, firstname.lastname@example.org,
at 484-250-7700 or 610-268-2022. We called and confirmed that these
are working numbers and that Ms. Walden does work for the PSP.
Is the story above an urban legend or true? According
this story is true. The above Scam Alert was originally published (in
slightly different form) by the University of Texas at Austin Police
Department in 2004. "ATM skimming" — a method of identity theft using
special equipment covertly installed on bank ATMs to capture users'
PINs and card numbers — is a real crime and on the rise, authorities
say. Since it can be difficult to detect when a machine has been altered,
experts recommend that bank customers take the following precautions
to protect themselves: Use ATMs you're familiar with. Be on the lookout
for changes in the equipment or signage. Block the keypad while entering
your PIN. See Bankrate.com's article, "ATM
Skimming," for more information about this crime and how to avoid
becoming a victim.
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