Feeling Secure Using ATMs – Guess Again?

Much attention has been directed towards identity and credit card thieves “skimming” unsuspecting individual’s debit and credit cards, capturing the account information off the card’s magnetic strip and making up fraudulent cards using the captured information.  The first notice an unsuspecting card holder receives that their account has been jeopardized is when fraudulent charges start appearing on the violated account, and it can be almost impossible to determine when the card was skimmed.  It could have been someone working at the last merchant visited, or any of the other card uses in the last six to twelve months.  The literature available focuses card holders to monitor their acocunt activity and protect their card as best as possible.  What else is a card holder to do – stop using their debit or credit cards altogether?

Now a new wave of skimming is occurring, whereby thieves are attaching reader devices right on the ATMs and the devices used to gain access to the ATMs.  The unsuspecting card holder puts their card into the slot to gain access and to use the ATM, unknowing a thief glued a skimmer in the shape of a slot in front of the legitimate slot. The card passes through both and the ATM functions as expected.  The card holder is returned the card once their banking is completed.  However, the card information was scanned and collected as it passed through the first slot, and hours later the thief retrieves the skim device off the ATM.

Think this is happening somewhere far away – sorry, it is happening right in our backyards.  Interestingly enough, look who is responsible for these crimes.  See the following article that appeared this week:


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Heading the team is Stephen A. Pedneault. A CPA and forensic accountant, Steve is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and is a Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). He brings over thirty years of accounting and fraud investigation experience to the firm.