Police are trying to track down a suspect who allegedly placed a “skimming” device — a piece of illegal hardware that covers an ATM’s card-swiper and records people’s credit card information — at an upper State Street bank.
According to a press release issued by police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey, 28 customers ran their credit cards through the fraudulent skimmer, unaware they were being duped. The victims, said McCaffrey, simply thought the ATM was out of order and didn’t become suspicious when the machine didn’t work.
The suspect — who was caught on surveillance cameras — went back and retrieved the skimmer full of card numbers. He reportedly downloaded the information, making duplicate cards and using them extensively until customers became hip to the scam and cancelled their accounts.
In credit card skimming cases in general, said McCaffrey, suspects also sometimes place a tiny pinhole camera above ATM touch pads. This allows them to capture credit card data as well as people’s PIN numbers and makes it so a suspect can create duplicate cards and use the legit PIN numbers to easily and quickly clean out an account.
McCaffrey warned that fake skimmers usually stick out further than a legitimate card reader and are sometimes attached with tape. If you’re suspicious the reader make be fake, said McCaffrey, grab and shake it gently to make sure it doesn’t break loose. And if an ATM is not working correctly, be suspicious of a skimmer and contact your bank immediately.