“Skimmers” Cheat ATM Users; Detroit Cases Cited

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An increasingly common form of bank robbery known as skimming is scamming many ATM users, says the Detroit News. Besides using fake readers to capture account numbers and names, thieves steal personal-identification numbers by aiming tiny cameras, sometimes hidden in a nearby pamphlet holder, at an ATM's keypad. Secret Service agents are searching for the culprits who have been attaching skimmers to ATMs in Detroit.

In some cases, a handwritten sign has persuaded ATM users to swipe their cards through a skimming device separate from the machine. In Tennessee recently, some ATM users thought they were protecting themselves when they fell for this message next to a skimmer: “Due to recent fraud attempts at this ATM machine, we require you to swipe your card in the reader below before using the machine.” Some skimming devices allow the ATM to continue dispensing cash, giving users no indication anything is out of the ordinary. Bank officials urge customers to report anything that looks out of the ordinary at an ATM, especially signs that give unusual instructions or warn customers not to tamper with the machine. Be cautious on evenings and weekends when skimmers are most often used because banks and nearby businesses are closed.

Link: http://www.detnews.com/2004/metro/0406/24/a01-193696.htm

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