Secret Service investigating area ATM crimes

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The ATM crime has gotten so bad, the federal government is stepping in to stop a scam that's stretching across Virginia.

The only problem: there's no way to predict who will get hit next. But there are ways to you can protect yourself.

Chesterfield County, Richmond, Newport News and Virginia Beach are all reporting "skimming scams."

More than 30 people are now victims of identity theft... Because they swiped their ATM card in the wrong slot.

"Maybe there's more going on than what we know. Obviously it's really serious if the Secret Service is getting involved," said Sgt. Michael Hines of the Chesterfield Police Department.

The Secret Service is studying these surveillance photos and video that come from Chesterfield, Richmond, Newport News and Virginia Beach.

"When the victim enters their credit card or debt card into the machine, it's swiping the magnetic strip obtaining the bank account information. The suspects then take that, create new cards and use them at an ATM or somewhere else."

According to the fed's, skimming is the fastest growing financial crime- drawing more than $1 billion in credit and debt card losses world-wide each year. Sometimes the device is so close to the real thing, it's hard to spot the scam.

"It's kind of scary because you think your ATM is pretty secure."

Make sure the coast is clear. After you've secured your location check the machine itself. Make sure there aren't any hidden cameras. Check the parts, make sure non of them are loose. When it comes time to begin your transaction, hide your pin.

"I don't go to them at night. But during the day I don't even think about it."

Most of these crimes happen during the day, authorities say, because it's so busy. So Shanna Eisenhauwer is now suspicious of every ATM transaction.

Do you think you'd even notice an extra gadget or gizmo? "I would not. I'll look from now on though."

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