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ATM thievery in Alexandria

Thieves were keeping a watchful eye on the skimming device surreptitiously installed to capture account information from bank cards inserted by customers Feb. 28 at an ATM at the Wachovia Bank at 3694 King Street.

An ATM technician working on the machine found the device at about 1:30 p.m. Feb. 28, took photos of it and went inside to notify bank security, Alexandria police said Monday.

By the time the technician came back outside, the device had been removed, police said.


ATM images. (Alexandria Police)

Several customers have reported fraudulent charges with losses estimated currently at more than $60,000 in an investigation that continues, police said.

An ATM skimming device works by reading account information stored electronically on the magnetic strip of a debit or credit card that is inserted into the banking machine, detectives said. Sophisticated skimmers also may record PINs as they are punched on a keypad.

Anyone with information about the case, including anyone who may wish to remain anonymous, is asked to call Detective David Hoffmaster at 703-838-5002 or the Crime Solvers tip line at 703-838-4858.

-- Mary Pat Flaherty

By Mary Pat Flaherty  |  March 23, 2010; 7:57 AM ET
Categories:  Alexandria , Cons & Scams , Mary Pat Flaherty , Virginia  
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Comments

Can't say I've ever seen or heard of this before. I wonder if the technician had removed the skimmer and given it to police, could they have found any information that led to the source?

Posted by: steampunk | March 23, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I have heard of this scam and some things to look our for when using an ATM machine! Nowadays these guys are more clever than ever...They were watching the tech and were able to remove their device before capture.But I am sure that the ATM had a camera, and should be able to ID the scammer. Hope they catch these guys, this is a serious problem, and the devices are so small and are strategically placed that most ppl would not be alert to it!

Posted by: NursRob | March 23, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Looks like a regular ATM machine to me. Can someone tell me where the skimming device is?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 23, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

For those wondering, the skimmer is the silver molding around the card insertion slot. If you look at the front view you can see a small silver piece which projects upwards, that is a magnetic reader which will record the information stored on the card as it goes into the ATM. Likely there is a small camera on the side facing the pin pad to record what buttons people press.

That looks extremely well done, somebody spent a lot of time on it. I bet it will show up again on another ATM in the area.

Posted by: Toby-R | March 23, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Toby-R. Thank you for helping to identify/describe the skimmer in the photo. Hey Wapo. Maybe 2 pics (one with an arrow/circle around the skimmer) would be helpful.

Posted by: 123cartoon | March 23, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

This happened three weeks ago and the Washington Post is just getting around to lets us know. What are you waiting on? People use ATM's everyday, lets wake up and report the news!!!

Posted by: FrankMonzon | March 23, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the camera catch somebody removing the skimmer? And shouldn't banks be checking this stuff out everyday? How hard is it to send an employee out, at least once a day to check the ATMs?

Posted by: TG10 | March 23, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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