N.J. Cops Probing Possible ATM Skimming Device Scam

If Your Account Starts To Act Strange Please Call The Bank

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBS 2/ WCBS 880) — The search was on Monday night for tech-savvy bank thieves in New Jersey.

Their brazen heist began with a small device hooked up to an indoor ATM machine at Bank of America, which allowed them to drain the accounts of scores of customers, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reports.

Over the previous three days, $1,500 disappeared from Robert Brady’s account. He told Carlin he felt violated.

Withdrawls of $500 were made from ATMs in Moonachie, Hackensack and New York City over the weekend, but Brady was nowhere near any of the three places.

He was robbed by tech-savvy crooks. Here’s how it works: Police said a device can be placed over the card reader allowing criminals access to the card numbers and pin numbers to create new cards which are used at ATMs to take out maximum amounts.

Customers started reporting large sums of money missing from their accounts. In Brady’s case bank managers noticed something wrong with his account.

“When they saw the card being used in New York they called us as fraud protection, which was great, and called us this morning and said were you in New York City trying to withdraw money and we said no and that’s when my wife came to the bank to take care of everything,” Brady said.

The $1,500 was back in their account on Monday night. Bank of America is asking all customers to contact their branch if they notice anything unusual during transactions or on their bank statements.

“We encourage customers to be extra vigilant and notify a banking center employee if they notice something unusual about an ATM or other transaction,” Bank of America spokesman T.J. Crawford told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “If a skimming device was used they will be reimbursed.”

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell with details from the bank

Hasbrouck Heights resident Tom Zalewski admitted being a little nervous checking his.

“My receipt is okay; my balance is okay. That’s a relief, knock on wood,” Zalewski said.

“My wife said today we’ll be doing a lot less online shopping, a lot less ATM. She said she won’t even use the ATM anymore. Go straight to the teller right now for transactions,” Brady added.

There is video surveillance at the ATM, but Hasbrouck Heights Police were not saying Monday night whether suspects in this brazen crime were caught on camera.

More from Peter Haskell
  • LinearC

    For the scam to work, the thieves need the PIN. A simple way to protect yourself is to cover your hand when entering the PIN; use your free hand or hold your wallet over the keypad as you type. Most scammers use a pinhole camera hidden somewhere on the ATM that will look down on the keypad. ATM security is based on the secrecy of the PIN; look after your PIN and you’ll be fine. Make it a habit to always hide your PIN as you type.

    PS the PIN is NOT on the mag strip; that’s another myth.

  • JB

    I was a victim of this last week. I do have to praise Bank of America for having their fraud protection dept contact me. I usually only use my atm card twice a week at the same two places. I happened to use one out of town 2 weeks ago. The very next day, and for the next 3 days, $500 was taken out of my account each day for a total of $1500. Bank of America recognized the unusual transactions and contacted me. They deactivated my card and placed the $1500 into my account by the next day. I think it is pretty clear that by “inside” it means in a vestibule. I have never actually seen an ATM in a bank lobby, but perhaps the banks in my area do not provide this.

  • Fric

    For those of you that are narrow minded enough to think that the largest bank in the country in not security savy, I would say you need to knock that chip off your shoulder. Thieves that steal by these means has nothing to do with the finanacial institution that holds the funds. You would need an armed security guard at each ATM to prevent what happened in this case.

    And for those of you that have a chip against BofA……in 2009, the bank completed 630,000 loan modifications to keep home owners from foreclosing. When BofA bought Countrywide, with it, came the foreclosure nightmare that this country is suffering today. Basically, along with the business, they bought the buisness’s problems.

    And of you that want to gripe about TARP. BofA paid back their TARP relief, WITH INTEREST, well ahead of schedule. Yes America, you made money on that deal. (not like you’ll ever see it) With any business, bad decisions are made. You learn, knock off the dirt and move on. During the earthquake of 1906, BofA was giving loans on a handshake. My point is, BofA is an American staple and I for one am proud to work for them.

    • czxqa

      I work for that den of thieves, too, Fric, and I wouldn’t tell my worst enemy to do business with them, my fellow “associate.” What a joke. Take your childish “core values” that nobody pays any mind to and if you print them on paper that’s thin enough, maybe you can roll whatever it is you’re smoking in it. Legacy BofA is one of the worst companies in America, and will be bankrupt soon enough thanks to the foolish Countrywide deal. Cousin Angelo got the last laugh on that one.

    • BOFA Operations

      Good BOY, FRIC! You will soon be receiving a promotion to Vice President of the Water Cooler Department at the downtown Peoria, Illinois Branch. Your annual salary will be increased by five-hundred dollars.

  • rds

    Total loss…$1500!!! Politicians steal that much in seconds.

    Now customers will be trying to scam the banks claiming they didn’t make the purchase. I see more criminal charges against BofA customers than the thieves.

  • rds

    Amazing how some people can read a simple article and not understand the content. Those devices have been around for years. The fact someone has to see you enter the pin makes the victim somewhat stupid themselves.

    • Thomas Seamans III

      It is a FACT that they do not have to see you key in your pass code. It is encoded on the magnetic strip as well, so you can use it at vendors that are not connected to the Bank. When you swipe your card the vendors machine compares the pin entered to what is on the stripe. If someone has a high tech stripe reader they have your pin. I think it is STUPID that someone makes a comment without doing the research or knowing of what they are talking about.

      • JD

        Tom, They referenced an “indoor atm” not as you interpret , it’s NOT an “inside job”. It means the ATM was inside the building, not an outdoor ATM.

      • Thomas Seamans III

        If you go to the store try just hitting the enter key when you are asked for your pin. The transaction will go through.

      • Paul Adams

        You are INCORRECT! The stripe contains an ENCRYPTED pin number. When the ATM establishes communications with the bank, the number you enter is checked against the ENCRYPTED pin. Not only must there be a match, but the ENCRYPTED pin is checked against the ENCRYPTED pin on file at the bank and they must match. Your pin number is NEVER stored on your card except in ENCRYPTED form.

    • JB

      I was in a vestibule completely by myself on a day when the bank was closed. Unless someone viewed the security camera footage I don’t see how someone could have viewed me put in my security code. Perhaps you never have used an ATM rds? Classic, someone blames the victim, not the thief…

  • Kevin

    And this is BoA’s fault how exactly?? These scammers have been doing this for years now although this is the first I’ve heard of it in this are. This did not occur ‘inside” the bank as Roy suggests but rather in the ATM vestibule, probably at 3 in the morning when the back was closed.

    It seems to me that BoA acted, in the case sited above, both responsibly and quickly, returning the money to that customer’s account in one day!

  • Roy

    Great security,they set this scam up INSIDE the bank…………………….

    • rds

      Roy, you can read, right? Where does it say “INSIDE” the bank. This has been around for years. You live under a rock?

      • Thomas Seamans III

        It’s apparent that RDS doesn’t know how to read. The third line do from the ATM photo staes “A Device attached to the machine INSIDE the bank” DAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

  • MJF

    Bank of America: Throwing technology back 20 years.

  • HUGO

    Thanks Bank of America.

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