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Thieves target SunTrust Bank branch with "skimmer" | News

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Thieves target SunTrust Bank branch with "skimmer"
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(WBIR) An old trick is sparking a new warning from authorities about watching your money.

Oak Ridge Police Department said on Sunday a SunTrust customer using the ATM at the bank's Oak Ridge Turnpike location noticed something wasn't right with the machine and alerted police.

Hugh Suhr, spokesman for the Atlanta-based bank, confirmed to WBIR 10News "skimmers" were found on "a few" of the banks' ATMs recently.

Suhr said SunTrust has since blocked credit and debit cards of some of its customers after the devices used to steal card information were discovered and the company is issuing new cards to those customers, who the bank believes may have used the ATM when the skimming devices were present.

The skimming device is usually installed on top of the original card reader and as customers insert their credit or debit cards their information is recorded and stored. But the thief also needs the PIN. In order to get that, the criminal sometimes places a fake keyboard on top of the real one to track keystrokes, or they typically install a hidden camera above the keypad.

While skimmers are commonly found on ATMs, they can also be found on card readers at gas stations or any other place where a card is swiped or inserted.

Marshall Stone, supervisory special agent with Knoxville's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said, "Tourist areas tend to be harder hit with skimmer because we use ATMs that we are not familiar with and we may not recognize that the machine doesn't look correct."

Stone suggests cardholders take a few minutes to examine the machine before swiping / inserting.

He said, "Look for something that's crooked or give it a tug to see if it's loose because it's put on sometimes with tape. One thing I've noticed is a lot of the ATMs have a light where you insert your card. The skimmer covers up that light so if there's normally a light there, are you missing that light?"

Stone also recommends a person uses one hand to cover the keypad when entering their personal identification number (PIN) to prevent the PIN from being recorded by a hidden camera. Also, regularly check your banking / credit statements for any suspicious activity.


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