ATM Spells Trouble - NBC4 Washington

ATM Spells Trouble

Thieves attach device directly to money machine; 88 customers ripped off



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    ATM skimming scam gives crooks direct, unauthorized access to customer accounts.

    When you use an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), you might look over your shoulder for danger, but most people don't look at the machine itself. Maybe they should.

    Investigators in Queen Anne County, Md., say someone attached what's called a "skimmer" to the ATM at a Bank of America branch in Stevensville, Md. That’s on the Eastern Shore.
    Eighty-eight customers found that someone had gained unauthorized access to their accounts by using numbers electronically "skimmed" at the ATM. It happened between Sept. 26 and Oct. 9.
    "With computers, you can do anything," said one customer. "You just have to be careful I guess. What can you do about that?” 
    Investigators believe the thieves removed the device just before the scam was discovered. Experts say it would likely have been installed over the card slot, and looked like part of the ATM machine itself. The device records information from the card's magnetic strip.
    Customers are frustrated to think their accounts could have been be compromised because they chose to use an ATM rather than walking into the bank lobby.
    One woman told us tellers encourage her to use the ATM when the lines are long. “They'd say, ‘You know, you can cash your check here or you can put it in the ATM,’ and so I stopped going inside all together because I just use the ATM so that's a little upsetting."
    There could be more victims out there. Investigators believe some folks just haven’t noticed that someone's been poking around in their bank accounts. Yet.
    In the meantime, the affected customers are using the new ATM cards they’ve been issued.