Police search for ATM identity thief
SEA RANCH LAKES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police are searching for a man who installed a credit card device on an ATM outside a South Florida supermarket in order to steal sensitive information from unsuspecting ATM users.
A man was captured on surveillance video installing a credit card skimmer over the card reader on the ATM of a Publix located on A1A and Sea Ranch Lakes on Monday. "It appears like he took it out of his pocket, got close to the machine and slid it on," said Sea Ranch Lakes Police Department Officer Bill Koch.
According to police, the "skimmer" device is intended to steal customers' credit card information every time a customer tried to withdraw cash. The device is then plugged into a computer to collect the data.
A customer who was using the ATM noticed something was wrong when he accidentally knocked off the skimmer.
Koch said next time you use an ATM machine, make sure the cardholder is secure. "I would actually go up and touch this to see if its real, and as you can see, it's bending, and it's coming off," said Koch.
Inside the device are tiny electronics that can record your ID and your card information as you take out cash. The crook then retrieves the device and can download the collected information into a computer and use it in nefarious ways. "He's very computer savvy," Koch said.
Police said the man who installed this device would have used the information to steal identities, should he have been able to retrieve the unit before police seized it first.
As the device is now in the possession of police, none of the users should have had their information stolen. However, officers suggest if you used this ATM in Sea Ranch Lakes, contact your bank to check for any suspicious activity on your account.
Customer Babette Venokur has been a victim of similar crimes in the past. "I've had my identity stolen once before," she said.
She lost $17,000 from her account as a result. She no longer trusts ATMs as a result and offers this advice: "They should go inside the bank. Do not use the tellers outside coz you're just asking for trouble."
If you have any information on who this thief is, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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