Filed underAl Sunshine
It can happen whenever you go to the A-T-M: You give an identity thief all they need for direct access to your bank acount. Ad it happens without you even knowing it.
Miami Garden’s Tiffany Williams says “I’m very nervous whenever I go to the ATM. I worry about somebody getting all my information”.
Sophisticated cyber-thieves are using a high-tech device called an ATM skimmer, which often attaches to the front of an ATM Terminal and looks as if it’s a regular piece of the the terminal. It can be made for just a few dollars using commonly available parts.
Secret Service Agent Eric Zahren says thieves place the skimmer right over the regular card slot on an ATM and says ” As it receives your card – it is intercepting the tracked data off the back of the card – the magnetic stripe that runs across any credit or debit card.”
It turns out your card slides right thru the skimmer and into the actual ATM slot without ever even knowing you’ve been ripped-off.
Secret Service Special Agents in Miami told CBS4 Chief Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine say they are seeing these all lot more often, and they’re popping up all over the place.
Michael Fithen, the Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office, says they see a new ATM Skimmer case almost every week and adds, “It’s a pervasive problem and it’s getting worse every year. Theres no question it’s getting worse and Miami is now one of the top 5 locations on the country for this kind of activity.”
Fithen says South Florida is seeing International Cyber-Crime rings coming here to set up the skimmers and scam local residents.
Once the thieves have your info, they use another readily available digital cloning device to put your account information on their blank ATM cards. Then they use them to drain your bank account.
So how do they get your Personal Identificaiton Number, better known as your PIN?
Federal Investigators tell CBS Television Cyber-Thieves are also using hidden cameras to record your PIN numbers as you enter them on the ATM Keypad.
Sometimes cameras are mounted next to brochures and very well hidden so you’d never suspect it.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
Check out your ATM very closely for anything that doesn’t look right or might be loose. Give it “The Wiggle Test”
Up next, make sure to cover the keypad with your other hand when entering your PIN Number at the terminal.
Also, look for any glue or glue residue around the corners of the machine.
Identity Theft experts say check you account balances everyday if possible.
That way if there’s something wrong with your bank account, it’ll be easier to fix it before the crooks drain even more money out of your account.
And don’t forget, skimmers can also be attached to retail store checkouts and even gas pumps.
South Florida Cyber-Crime specialists expect the problem here to get even worse as more and more consumer turn to ATM’s for some quick cash, rather than racking up more debt on their Credit Cards.