Be alert to avoid devices that read ATM cards
Randy Adams is a veteran St. Petersburg police detective who investigates sophisticated fraud and theft cases. Last week, she was investigating reports of ATM skimmers found in the city. An ATM skimmer is a false, portable card slot taped over the card reader on the front of a legitimate ATM. It is cleverly disguised, but often poorly crafted, to steal account information from a credit/debit card. Three devices were discovered in the city last weekend. They appear slightly wider than the ATM's normal card reader. A computer chip inside the shell reads the magnetic strip on the back of the ATM card when it passes through the card slot and captures account information. People rarely notice anything is amiss. Fortunately, last weekend an alert customer noticed that the ATM card reader "wiggled" when she pulled out the card (these card readers should have no play whatsoever), so she pulled on the device and it came off in her hand. The three skimmers found last weekend contained a USB port to easily download stolen data. The information is later used to create bogus credit cards and make fraudulent transactions that do not require a PIN. (ATM skimmers have been found in other places with a pinhole camera to capture your PIN). Be alert when using an ATM and immediately call the police if anything looks (or feels) suspicious.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman