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Police Investigate Drive-Through ATM Skimming

These thieves had high-tech skills

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Thieves with high-tech skills installed a “skimmer,” a device that can read and remember credit card numbers and access codes, during November on a drive-through automatic teller machine at “a local financial institution,” Lower Pottsgrove police said Thursday (Dec. 21, 2017). Several victims have been affected, police said, by what are assumed to be hacks of their card accounts.

Detectives are investigating the crime, which they alleged occurred on the morning of Nov. 11 (Saturday). Surveillance camera video footage from the institution shows that “the actors returned and removed the device” later that night, according to a department media release.

Police urged “anyone who believes that their information may have been compromised” to contact either their local law enforcement agencies or the Lower Pottsgrove department at 610-326-1508.

The report of the ATM skimmer attack is separate from, but came on the same day as, the department’s news of a debit card compromise case it also is investigating at the Turkey Hill Minit Market on East High Street in Sanatoga. Read that story here.

Unlike that of the Turkey Hill case, in which the company and location were prominently identified, the department’s skimmer release did not specify which “local financial institution” was involved, or at which branch office or stand-alone drive-through the compromise occurred. It did report the investigation was being conducted “in conjunction” with the institution.

Commenters on the department’s Facebook page pressed investigators to release the name of the institution so they could better “monitor account activity.”

The release did not address why public notice of the crime was delayed by the institution involved for more than five weeks after it occurred. It also did not provide an aggregate amount of value, if any, stolen from victims identified so far.

Were you a victim? How will you know?

More than half of all American adults have had personal information hacked by scammers, according to an August article published by MyBankTracker.com. “It’s now more important than ever to check all of your bank statements, credit card statements and to review your credit report every quarter,” it advised.

  • Those trying to identify if their cards were subject to the skimming attack now being investigated, or any others, should start by examining and reconciling their card account statements “to ensure there isn’t any suspicious activity,” the site suggested.
  • Look at longer time periods, and don’t focus on a single day, or even a single week, it added. “Thieves are sneaky. They will use your card information to steal smaller amounts from your account, anywhere from $10 to $50 worth of transactions a week, because they are hoping victims won’t notice.”
  • Report any unauthorized activity to your bank immediately, or you may be liable for old charges on your account,” the article warned. Also call the police and notify them of your suspicions, as Lower Pottsgrove’s department requested. Finally, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro urges you to notify his office by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555, or send an e-mail to scams@attorneygeneral.gov.

Several Pennsylvania financial and law enforcement agencies have announced, also during August, they are stepping up efforts against card skimming crime. Read about it here.

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