[StBernard] Thieves stealing account information from ATM's

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Sat Jul 23 12:20:09 EDT 2011

Thieves stealing account information from ATM's


Posted on July 22, 2011 at 10:11 PM

Updated yesterday at 10:21 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News

CHALMETTE, La. -- A warning for debit card users: Thieves are using
high-tech devices called skimmers to steal people's bank account information
at ATM's.

Thousands of dollars have gone missing in St. Bernard and neighboring
parishes, and some victims aren't finding out until it's too late.

"We're saving, we pay our own bills," said Brittany Figueroa. "It was
horrible to see that."

Panic set in when Figueroa and her fiance noticed cash was missing from
their bank account.

"We were actually going online to pay a bill for our Sprint cell phones.
When we went online, they wouldn't let us pay the bill and when we jumped to
our Capital One website, it was showing that we had $225 missing," said
Doniven Manchester.

The young couple is saving for their wedding day, so every dollar counts.
Seeing money mysteriously disappear left them speechless.

"We hadn't gone anywhere and the cards were in our wallets sitting on the
table," Manchester said.

They're not alone. The St. Bernard Sheriff's Office says local ATM's, mainly
at gas stations, are being targeted by criminals armed with skimmers. The
device can go inside ATM card slots, or be placed on top of an ATM pin pad,
capturing the pin and other account details.

A lot of that information was picked up when victims swiped their cards at
gas stations. The St. Bernard's Sheriff's Office says it's received 14
reports of unauthorized transactions, totaling $13,000.

The sheriff's office says these suspects were caught on camera making
fraudulent withdrawals and are likely connected to the scam.

"I saw it on Facebook and then a co-worker had it happen to her," said Gia
Misuraca. "It's been hundreds of dollars, so it's been a big deal."

Knowing a co-worker was targeted makes Gia Misuraca uneasy.

"I don't want to be one of those people scammed and have to deal with the
consequences of calling the bank or having to get everything figured out,"
she said.

The inconvenience of it all is something Brittany and Doniven Manchester
know well. After calling their bank, and filing a police report, this couple
will have to think twice before their next visit to the ATM.

"It's very uncomfortable," Brittany Manchester said. "It makes you want to
not use your bank account no more and carry cash all the time."

To protect yourself against card skimming, consumer reports recommends:

* Avoiding unfamiliar ATM's

* Covering your pin code by shielding the ATM keypad.

* And using the credit card option when possible.

If you live in the area, you're being asked to check your bank accounts
carefully, and if you see anything suspicious, report it.

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