CONSUMER ALERT: Secret Service Warns of ATM Card Number Theft

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The U.S. Secret Secret Service in Charleston is looking for two men accused of stealing credit card information.

Customers of City National Bank in Kanawaha City noticed money missing from their accounts during the weekend. They called the bank, and the U.S. Secret Service in Charleston was notified.

Investigating agents looked through security footage to find two suspects installing a device on the ATM. It's called a skimmer.

"It's a hardware that slips on over the existing equipment with an adhesive. They can leave it on for up to an hour," explained Resident Agent in Charge Bill Smarr.

The device blends in with the ATM machine, making it very difficult for customers to notice. The suspects also installed a camera to record customers entering their pin numbers.

The Secret Service says the suspects removed the skimmer within about an hour, took the bank information of 12 customers, and created new credit cards containing stolen banking information.

Agent Smarr says it's the first time anyone has used a device like this in this part of West Virginia. He says it's not known if the suspects are local and wouldn't comment on where the bank information was used. He says only up to $500 could be stolen from each account.

There are some things you can do to protect yourself. Smarr recommends inspecting the ATM card reader by moving it around before using it. He says if it moves or seems like it could be easily removed, to call the bank. He also says to use your hand to cover up your pin number when entering it into the keypad. You can also enter a few incorrect numbers to throw off any potential thieves.

If you know who the suspects may be, you're asked to call the U.S. Secret Service in Charleston at 304-347-5188.

City National Bank released this statement to WSAZ.com regarding the theft:

"A card skimmer was illegally installed in one City ATM machine, located at our branch on MacCorkle Avenue and 36th Street in Kanawha City for approximately 90 minutes last Saturday. As soon as the bank learned of the situation, we too immediate action- shutting down the affected cards, contacting those customers, and notifying the authorities. Fortunately, only a dozen cards were compromised, less than half were impacted, and the amounts were small. We have refunded the loss to those customers.

"We take this opportunity to remind ATM users to be observant and watchful. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid machines with external skimmers attached. If you believe you may have discovered an ATM with a skimmer, please notify your bank immediately.

"City had security devices installed on all its ATM machines. There are also security cameras for additional safety."

To see surveillance photos of the suspects and their vehicle, click on the gallery above.


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