Va. ATM "Skimming" Scheme May be Spreading

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey reports on the growing case of ATM skimming scammers. (Published Monday, Jul 14, 2014)

    The investigation into a Northern Virginia ATM skimming operation has extended from Fairfax County to Leesburg.

    Skimmers use two devices to carry out their crime -- one device fits over the ATM slot and copies a customer's debit card information, and another device with a camera and a pinhole is usually mounted above the ATM to capture customer's PINs.

    Police believe the man who "skimmed" a Suntrust bank in Leesburg Saturday may be one of the three men who have been skimming banks in Fairfax County. It also appears the same man may have also targeted a Stafford Suntrust ATM earlier Saturday.

    "We got a call from the bank stating they belived they had a skimmer device on their ATM machine," Leesburg Police spokesman Lt. Jeff Dube said. "Our officer went over and confirmed, yes it was and seized it at that time."

    Detectives are now looking for fingerprints and other evidence. Photos supplied by the Leesburg bank appear to be of the same man whose picture was circulated widely just the day prior by Fairfax County police. There, three Suntrust ATMs have been targets of skimming since early June.

    "He's very brazen," Dube said. "I don't know if he knows being recorded. He wore a scarf and at times hide face, but he doesn't seem to be too worried about that."

    In some of the photos from the Fairfax County ATMs, the man wears a surgical mask, but in others he does not conceal his face.

    Dube said it may be hard for an ATM customer to detect either device but says customers can be aware of a red flag that may reveal a skimmer in place.

    "You'll get an out of order message or invalid card message," Dube advised. "At that point, if you know you have money in your account or ATM, take time to walk inside and alert the bank officials."