US attorney ripped off by ATM skimmer
Skimming is now a $1 billion-a-year criminal activity. Don't let it happen to you.
When U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan appeared at a Seattle press conference to talk about the rise in ATM skimming, she was very knowledgeable about the topic. A little too well-prepared, in fact: Durkan lost $1,000 from her own bank account recently after using an ATM kiosk whose door lock was broken. (More on that later.)
Technology makes it pretty easy for crooks to steal your money. Short form: We're handing them the info they need to clean out our accounts.
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Half a dozen people were arrested in the Seattle area in connection with skimming scams totaling almost $1 million, according to The Seattle Times. Durkan said the arrests may have broken up the biggest ATM theft ring on the West Coast.
- Bing:Common ATM scams
Unknowing consumers put in their cards and are filmed typing in their PINs; the info is synched up later on and then the thieves start withdrawing money.
One estimate of skimming's damage? A billion dollars a year, according to Durkan.
Since skimming also happens at other places, such as gas pumps, the FBI offers some tips on protecting your ATM and credit cards:
- Eyeball the ATM, gas pump or card reader. Is it loose, crooked or damaged? Do you see scratches or sticky tape residue?
- Be particularly wary of tourist-area ATMs.
- Whenever possible, use indoor ATMs. They're harder to tamper with successfully.
- Shield the keypad with your other hand while typing in your PIN.
- If you try to cancel the transaction and your card doesn't return, or if it doesn't come back out after your transaction, contact your bank or credit union immediately.
- Feel the card slot. If it's raised, crooks may have put in equipment.
- If the lock on the door to the ATM kiosk is broken, don't go in.
- An "out of order" sign on one ATM could be a thief's way of getting you to use his wired-up machine.
- Jiggle your card as you take it out of the slot; if a skimmer is in there, the motion might jar it loose.
- Having trouble with the machine? Don't let that nice person loitering nearby help you. Guard your card.
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The article never went into detail about what happened to Durkin. You really do have to pay very close attention to your accounts because sometimes they're not taking everything sometimes they are only taking a few cents or dollars. over the course of several weeks to see if you do anything about it or they're waiting for larger amounts of money to be deposited (income tax time) then they wipe you out.
Oh, I really like that last suggestion from Donna. Using your card at the store just give the cashier a chance to rip you off. Turns out, there is a small window where the cashier can run through another charge. After you've left the line, the cashier rings up a bogus charge and takes the cash from drawer so it balances at the end of the day. It happened to my dad at a small-town grocery store.
I'd much rather trust my own inspection of the ATM than the checkout girl.
Another reason we need to change our outdated ATM/Credit cards in the U.S. to the type with the electronic chip. As an American living in Europe; I noticed that all the banks over here issue cards with the more secure electronic chips. Of course even these aren't foolproof and I'm sure the crooks are working on ways to crack these too. However, they are still much more secure than those magnetic strips. Over here they even use smart card chip technology for ID cards. Also, some places in the Netherlands wouldn't even take my U.S. bank issued credit card with the magnetic strip because the store's equipment only took cards with the chip. This is becoming more common place in Europe too. I got tired of my magnetic strip card not working half the time and was forced to open an account with a local bank where I have US dollars transfered to that account. I lose a little on the USD/Euro exchange rate, but at least I can use the card everywhere; except when I come home to New Jersey. It's the opposite, the chip technology doesn't work hardly anywhere in the Jersey City/NYC area.
The SCAM is fraud against the Banks. Once the banks and the cops own up to that, you'd see a better enforcement effort since it would be affecting the real "victim"
A thief essentially enters through an electronic door to the bank and steals the funds. If the criminal used a bank managers keys to get in and stole a pile of cash, would the manager have to pay for the loss?
In May, I got gas in a less than perfect part of town. Not the worse part of town but still not good. I had gassed up there many times before but not recently. The next day, I am checking my account, which I do daily, and was surprised to see the balance down signficantly. Someone had scammed me and charged $175 at iTunes. Needless to say, I went to my bank, called iTunes and eventually got my money back.
About 10 years ago, we had an offer to spend a weekend at a time share. We had to put a deposit down, not much, but one morning after we put the deposit down, I tried to get gas and the card would not work. Called the bank and asked why I could not get gas. The "manager" person from St_rw__d Resort had taken and sold my number to someone or used it himself. They bought a laptop for $1400, $500 dollars to Lane Bryant (a big lady), etc. We got our money back but it was a pain.
I know check each card reader before I swipe my card, especially at gas stations. It would be hard for theives to tamper with the ones in stores, like walmart, etc., but I am still weary. Go cash for purchases. I am doing that starting 9/30!!
There is a real easy way to solve the problem! Don't use ATM cards and use your CC cards sparingly!
Works for me!!!!!!!
Jenny and her stupid cohorts won't catch anyone at this and this is nothing compared to what's in store for the future. The crooks are always ahead of the system. There is nothing "ingenious" about this. It has been around for a long time, just that this idiot got robbed so now everyone is making such a big deal of it because of her position. Too bad the average tax payer does not receive the same attention... Hey Jenny, there is tech out there now that allows anyone card info without even running the card... Too bad you and the Bureau of Idiots are sooooo behind the times...
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