Fraud investigators warn of ATM skimmers

These pictures show the type of skimmer used in some fraud cases.

A group of high-tech thieves are back in the metro area, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The crooks are stealing your money by first stealing your bank card information.

"I did not know it happened until the next day," said Jennifer Chan.

Chan had hundreds of dollars taken out of her bank account in less than 24 hours after using her debit card. Police suspect a thief lifted her debit card numbers using an electronic skimmer.

"I knew it was somewhere I had not been on that day and there were two withdrawals, which we knew neither one of us did," she said.

The thieves used Jennifer's debit and PIN number at the ATM at a drugstore on East 56th Street. Thieves mount the skimmers on machines where you swipe your card, record the keypad activity and then have a field day with the victim's money.

Fraud investigators like Key Bank's Johnny Rinstead warn the skimmer operators are working in the Indianapolis area right now.

"The people that are doing the skimmers are active year round, but they do travel," Rinstead said.

Although none of their customers have been hit by skimmers, Key Bank sent Eyewitness News samples of the devices, that look like real card swipers. The fake swiper fits on top of the real one. Thieves design some skimmers with a tiny camera to record your keypad entry.

Rinstead says this time of year, you want to pay close attention to ATMs, especially since we are approaching the holiday shopping season.

"We expect it to pick up during the Christmas season, like most fraud will do," Rinstead said.

Although Fifth Third Bank reimbursed Chan the stolen money, she says she'll keep an eye out for fake swipers from now on.

"It makes you uneasy knowing someone had your PIN number," she said.

Fraud investigators say you should never swipe your card on a questionable device and report money missing from your account to your bank right away.