CRIME

Skimmer used in Montgomery County ATM thefts

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJLA) - Technology has a way of making things so impersonal.

Police say two men in Montgomery County didn't commit armed robbery or even mug a late night walker but instead used a basic looking piece of plastic to rob dozens from afar.

The device is called a skimmer. It comes in a variation of shapes and sizes and fits perfectly over the card slot of an ATM machine. The problem is that it's nearly impossible to detect.

Police say you can look out for loose, crooked or damaged ATM parts such as scratches or tape residue around the card reader.

It's also wise to block the ATM keypad with your hand to avoid hidden cameras from recording your pin number.

Use ATM's inside the bank because they are less susceptible to skimmers. And avoid ATM's in high tourist areas.

Police believe the duo has spread to D.C. and police remind the public that any tip could generate a $10,000 reward.

Banks also say that they inform customers who may have fallen victim to ATM thefts.

"In the event a skimming device has been used, we proactively reach out to customers who may have been affected in order to block existing cards and issue new ones," says Nicole Nastacie, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. "We also regularly monitor customer accounts for suspected fraudulent activities, and will block potential fraud if abnormal patterns are detected."

If you think you've been the victim of skimming, you can call Bank of America customers are urged to call the bank's fraud department at 877-366-1121 or if the crime occurred in Montgomery, call the Montgomery County Police Financial Crimes Section at 240-773-6330.

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