Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nashville banks report skimming thefts at ATMs

By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • October 29, 2009 Metro Police believe Nashville bank ATMs have been targeted by an organized skimming operation. So far, 39 people have reported that their ATM cards have been compromised, but investigators said Wednesday that they believe there may be hundreds of victims across the city and most of them may not even realize their information has been stolen. "Go online and check your accounts," warned Metro Police Lt. Mickey Garner, supervisor of the department's fraud unit. "See if there are any charges on there. Don't wait until your paper statements come in. Most banks only give customers a 60-day window to dispute charges." Police say the suspects, described as three white men with European accents, may have left town. They are believed to be traveling from city to city in groups, staying for two or three days before moving on. Metro Police have contacted agencies in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina that reported similar fraud operations, Garner said. In Nashville, the suspects were able to steal nearly $30,000 by installing skimmer devices on bank ATM machines. When a customer places his or her card into the machine, the skimmer records the card number and the personal identification number. The suspects take the data and clone duplicate cards with it. They then take the cloned cards and go to another bank to withdraw funds or to stores to make purchases, police said. Investigators are obtaining surveillance video from the compromised ATM machines from a U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Bank of America. Police said they did not recover skimmers from the machines, which were located in the Church Street, Belle Meade and Antioch areas of town. "We don't know how many other banks they hit," he said. "The important thing is for people to check their bank accounts and look closely at ATM machines before using them. If the machine doesn't look right, don't put your card in it." Anyone with information may contact fraud detectives at 862-7594 or Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.

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