Protecting yourself from skimming devices at ATMs

January 23, 2013 9:12:40 PM PST
The next time you go to the ATM- watch out.

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The Secret Service is investigating a string of crimes in our area and gave Action News an exclusive look at the very slick devices thieves are now using to get your personal information.

"Skimming is a technique that criminals use to gather information either on a credit card or an ATM card off of the magnetic strip," Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Cindy Wofford said.

Skimming devices have been found on five local ATMs in just the past month and a half and the criminals who put them there are still on the loose.

Wofford says one certain skimming device appears to have been placed on two Wells Fargo ATMs: on January 5th on an ATM in Center Square and the next day on an ATM in Ambler, both on Skippack Pike.

The good news is investigators say the crime was caught so early the thieves did not have the chance to use the stolen information.

Another skimming technique is attaching a side panel with a small camera on the ATM.

"This is the pinhole camera that actually watches the customer put in the pin number to the ATM," Wofford said.

These kinds of skimming devices were found at TD Banks in the 2700 block of Street Road in Bensalem and the 700 Block of East Street Road in Feasterville less than two weeks ago on January 11th.

Surveillance video shows the devices being placed there on January 10th around 6:00 a.m.

TD Bank officials tell Action News they believe these devices did not have the ability to transmit data back to the fraudsters.

But that's not the case in the most recent skimming incident Action News just told you about this week at a TD Bank in Medford, New Jersey.

Police say it appears that the criminals did use the stolen information in the New York City and Connecticut area.

Medford police released surveillance photos on Wednesday.

TD Bank says it is contacting consumers who may have been affected by skimming and will work with them directly to address and correct any issues as quickly as possible.

Meantime, here's how you can protect yourself:

- Cover the keypad when entering your PIN at any ATM location. That will minimize a thief's ability to get it with a camera.

- Make sure your card goes into the machine smoothly, the way it normally does

- Make sure nothing about the machine looks different