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ATM Theft Sprees Net Crooks Almost $2M

New Yorkers are once again the victims of an ATM-rigging spree that managed to steal more than $500,000 from hundreds of Staten Island residents.

According to the Daily News, the thieves attached skimmers on card slots in ATMs at Sovereign Bank branches in the New York City borough. In addition to the scanned data, the criminals hid tiny cameras in the lighted ATM signs and used the cameras to record victims punching in their pin numbers.

Police told the Daily News that the thieves used the stolen data to create fake ATM cards that were electronically identical to customer cards; they then used these at different banks around town.

Meanwhile, four Romanian nationals were charged with skimming $1.4M from ATMs in upstate New York, we learned from the Syracuse Post-Standard..

Placing skimmers and videotaping customers is old sauce when it comes to cyber crime, but it works. Thankfully, you can protect yourself if you pay attention. Skimmers, while disguised to look like a normal part of the ATM, are made to be quickly installed and quickly removed. A man recently found (and photographed) one of these devices in the wild and was able to pop off the skimmer slot easily. He had noticed that something looked a little "off" about the machine, since the card slot didn't seem to be completely attached. Other signs could be a pamphlet holder that isn't on any of the other machines, or a mirror cam that sticks out more than usual.

So, who's at risk? For this most recent incident, anyone who used an ATM at a Sovereign Bank on Staten Island recently, but just last month, ATM skimmer incidents were discovered at Washington Mutual and Chase banks across the country, so pretty much anyone who uses a ATM regularly should be on the lookout before they stick their card in a machine. Also, it's safer to use the older ATMs that pull your card all the way in, rather than ones that you just stick in for a quick swipe.

In other words, when it comes to ATM skimmers, a little paranoia can pay off. If something looks suspicious at your ATM, it's probably not the best idea to swipe your card. [From: The Daily News, via Fox News and Syracuse Post-Standard, via The Consumerist]

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Tags: atm, atms, atmskimming, crime, identity theft, IdentityTheft, skimmer, skimming, top

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