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ATM Skimmers Improve, Public Should Be Aware

Submitted by Mike Lee, LCPD Public Information Officer

This weekend, the Lake City Police Department received a complaint from a citizen regarding a possible “skimmer” device installed at his bank’s ATM located at 707 SW Main Blvd. According to the caller, he has seen previous announcements from LCPD about these devices, and makes a habit of always pulling on the plastic housing around the card reader slot. He stated when he pulled on this one, it felt “odd” and he called police.

Investigator Garret Register responded to the bank and inspected the ATM. He discovered the plastic card slot housing was loose, and was able to remove it to find it had been glued over the actual housing of the ATM. The housing was fabricated in advance to look identical to the actual ATM’s plastic component. Additionally, a hidden camera was found attached to the front of the ATM. This camera was housed in a fabricated piece of plastic that fit perfectly into a flat area above the pin pad.

“Skimmers” on ATMs are magnetic card readers which are placed in a way that they read the data of any card placed into the ATM’s card slot. The camera hidden above the pin pad is able to observe the pin numbers of individuals using the ATM. With these two pieces of data, criminals have easy access to the funds in that user’s account.

“The technology behind these skimmers is improving,” said Chief Argatha Gilmore. “ATM users must remain vigilant. They are designed to be temporary, so no matter how real they look, they will often feel wrong if you check them closely. Carefully Inspect the ATM before using it, and trust your gut.”

ATM users should always remain alert. Physically handle the ATM card slot housing to see if it feels loose or comes free. Closely inspect the area around the pin pad for any pieces that seem out of place or protrude from the ATM. “If you are unsure, call us, and we will help you check it out before use,” said Chief Gilmore.

LCPD is working with the owner of the affected ATM to determine if any accounts were compromised. The Criminal Investigation Division conducted a sweep of all other ATMs in Lake City over the weekend and found no more skimmers. Anyone with any further information, please contact Investigator Register at 386-758-5451.

Notice this is the same color green and the same design. -Photo: LCPD