Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Carmel on the Case: ATM Fraud
Getting cash can be a last minute chore, but before you stick your card into any old ATM here's something to consider, ATM fraud is on the rise and anybody and we mean anybody can own one. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- Stopping at an ATM for quick cash is something most of us don't think twice about, but use the wrong machine and as you're cashing out crooks could be cashing in. This man is wanted by police in Naples.
Detective Keith Higdon, Collier County Sheriff's Office: "It is believed that he is the one that placed a skimming device on the ATM."
Detective Keith Higdon from the Collier County Sheriff's Office says ATM's from several Sun Trust Bank locations were targeted last month.
Detective Keith Higdon: "At this time, it would be safe to say that the victims have suffered losses, including several thousand dollars."
And if going to your own bank's ATM isn't scary enough take a look at this, ATM machines for sale on the internet and anybody with the money to buy can own one, no questions asked.
That means someone with a criminal record or criminal intent could get into your bank account.
Special Agent A.J. Nazario, U.S. Secret Service: "They'll go ahead and manufacture components to simulate an ATM card swipe."
The U.S. Secret Service says ATM connected fraud is extensive and increasingly sophisticated.
Special Agent A.J. Nazario: "This is a faceplate to an ATM. It was intercepted in transit."
Crooks are using everything from homemade skimmers to bogus faceplates to hidden cameras to steal the keys to our bank accounts.
Special Agent A.J. Nazario: "In this example, there's a little camera in these little slots up here watching what pin has been entered."
Special Agent A.J. Nazario: "From there they can start taking money out very quickly."
Florida has strict laws for ATMs operated by financial institutions right down to the lighting, but when it comes to individual ownership there are no regulations.
According to the Department of Financial Regulation, privately owned Atms may be safe to use for the consumer, but there is an element of uncertainty about who owns and operates the ATMs."
Carmel Cafiero: "If you had your own ATM machine, it would be nothing for you to rig it any way you wanted?"
Special Agent A.J. Nazario: "Absolutely."
Although the law does limit losses, it can take time to straighten things out.
Special Agent A.J. Nazario: "It takes several weeks, several months. There are folks still dealing with it a year after the fact."
Carmel Cafiero: "Experts say when you use an ATM it's always a good idea to cover up when entering your pin number and look at the machine before you insert your card, does there seem to be extra attachments? If so, walk away and call police."
Collier County authorities say if you have any information about this subject call them at 239-252-9300 and if there's something you think Carmel should investigate give her a call or send an e-mail.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: