ATM Skimmer Steals Bank Acct. Info, Problem Could Be Widespread

ATM Skimmer Steals Bank Acct. Info, Problem Could Be Widespread

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Police on Wednesday released photos of two suspects they believed are involved in the skimming incident. (Medford Township Police Department) Police on Wednesday released photos of two suspects they believed are involved in the skimming incident. (Medford Township Police Department)
Medford, NJ -

A big warning tonight for anyone who uses an automatic teller machine to get cash, which is just about everybody these days.

Police in Medford, Burlington County, believe a man intent on stealing from bank customers installed what's called a "skimming device" on an ATM inside the lobby of a TD bank in Medford, New Jersey.  A surveillance camera captured an image of the man on the morning of December 16th.  It also captured a photo of his accomplice, who showed up at the same ATM to remove it late the next night.  Over that 40-hour period, the device allowed them to copy the bank account information of hundreds of people.  "A bunch of crooks," Michael Mickinak told Fox 29.  "I don't know how they do that."

Police say it's easy to fool ATM customers.  "They're very difficult to detect to the average person," Medford Police Chief Richard Meder said.  "You're not going to notice that it's there."

Nobody did, not even police officers, who also fell victim to the scammers. Michael Mickinak didn't realize what had happened until this past Sunday, when he went to a supermarket, and his bank card didn't work.  "The first thing I thought, maybe I didn't have enough money in it, but I knew I had enough money in my account, so I couldn't figure it out."

Police started receiving reports from victims last Friday.  The crooks apparently had waited until now to use the stolen information.  When Jane Cale heard the news, "I checked my accounts right away and found there was money missing."  The crooks had stolen $1,500 from Cale's account.

What's more, the ATM on Stokes Road in Medford may not be the only one the scammers hit.  "We believe other states are involved," Chief Meder told Fox 29.  "We believe there may be other ATM's from other banks involved."  Chief Meder acknowledged there potentially could be tens of thousands of victims. "Absolutely," he said.

The best advice for ATM users?  When you're typing in your PIN code, cover the screen.  Many skimming devices are not able to collect a PIN code, so the crooks will install a tiny camera near the ATM to get your PIN.  However, some skimming devices are so sophisticated, even that won't work.

TD Bank says it will re-reimburse its customers for all losses, including overdraft fees.

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