Greenwich Police Warn: Don’t Fall Prey to Card “Skimmers”

Greenwich Police are warning residents to beware of thieves who have devised ingenious ways to obtain your PIN number when you use an ATM machine.

“The crime called “skimming” involves thieves capturing your credit card information, producing a phony card and then draining your account,” explained Lt. Kraig Gray of Greenwich Police.

The “skimmer” is the device that lifts information from the magnetic strip on the back of a credit or debit card. The device is attached to the slot where users swipe their credit cards. They are as  inconspicuous as a pinhole.  Skimmers have targeted MetroCard and ticket machines, but have also be found at ATM’s and gas pumps.

In addition to the information on the credit or debit card, the thieves need your PIN to succeed. That’s why the crime also involves a camera, typically overhead, will record a PIN number as it is being entered. There are also fake keyboards that can be placed over a legitimate PIN entry pad to record a code.

“We have had several attempts at ATM skimming in the Greenwich jurisdiction, though it is a national crime trend,” Lt. Gray said. “The devices have been installed at places where people use their credit card, including banks and train stations.”

Skimming continues to be investigated by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force.

“People should be very cautious when punching in PIN numbers,” Lt. Gray said. “Obscure the key pad with your hand so that the camera can not pick up your PIN number.”