By Michelle Cassell
A bank service technician discovered a card skimmer during routine maintenance on Tuesday, Jan. 23. The card skimmer was disguised as part of a Bank of America ATM at Chatham Crossing shopping center, 11312 US15-501 N, Chapel Hill.
Randall Rigsbee, Public Information Officer of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, provided TLR with the report. While it is unknown how long the device may have been attached to the ATM, it could have been on the ATM since it was previously serviced on Friday, January 19. If you’ve used the ATM recently, contact your bank for guidance.
Contact the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office at 919-542-2911 if you suspect fraudulent activity.
What is a card skimmer?
According to the FBI, “The devices planted on ATMs are usually undetectable by users—the makers of this equipment have become very adept at creating them, often from plastic or plaster, so that they blend right into the ATM’s façade. The specific device used is often a realistic-looking card reader placed over the factory-installed card reader. Customers insert their ATM card into the phony reader, and their account info is swiped and stored on a small attached laptop or cell phone or sent wirelessly to the criminals waiting nearby.”
How to avoid being skimmed
– Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.
– When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
– If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers).
– If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.
Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news.