Here’s how to check for a skimmer on ATMs or gas pumps

Posted at 10:52 PM, Dec 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-17 23:30:23-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police say inspect your local ATM or even the gas pump before you use it, because a skimmer that can read your card might be attached.

Nowadays skimmers are sophisticated and it's hard to see their work sometimes.

When withdrawing money, you’ve probably done what Anthony Schirmer does:  "I don't go over the machine,” Schirmer said Wednesday. “I just stick the card in, really."

At least 3,000 Union First Market Bank card holders were notified Monday that their debit cards may have been compromised by a skimmer at Richmond area ATM's.  Henrico Police said there have been a half-dozen incidents reported over the past two months.

"People need to get a job. I mean, I'm 82 and still working security,” said Schirmer.

But crooks are using their work ethic for something more devious and disastrous to your bank account: placing a skimmer over the slot where you insert your ATM card.

skimmer 1

Union First Market Bank is now working with the Secret Service to solve these crimes.  And other banks are believed to have been targeted, too.

"Everything is more sophisticated now," said Tom Gallagher, with the Better Business Bureau.

The skimming device can also come with a pin-hole, with just enough room for a camera that can record your pin as you type it in. Thieves then take the information from your magnetic strip to create a new card, and armed with your PIN, can commence cleaning out your account.

"Take a close look at the ATM or credit machine and if something feels weird, it probably is weird,” said Gallagher.  “Your gut is a great indicator."

All indications point to crooks who know their craft.  And that upsets Kristen Seymour who hopes karma catches them fast.

"I think they're ignorant people. People work hard for their money and for someone to just take it,” said Seymour.  “They should use their brain power for finding a cure for cancer instead of stealing money."

Gallagher points out your first line of defense is a daily review of your bank account.