2012-05-18 / Top Stories

Skimmers Hit Howard Beach Bank

Used By Many Rockaway Residents
By Howard Schwach

Police in the 106 Precinct in Howard Beach are warning residents who used the Capital One Bank branch on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach to check their bank accounts closely in the wake of an incident where a skimmer was found in one of the bank’s ATM machines. The bank, just south of the Belt Parkway, is reported to get heavy use from Rockaway residents commuting to work each day. Police sources told The Wave on Wednesday that the skimmer was found after the weekend of May 5 and 6, and that anybody who used the bank that weekend should be suspect of the security of their account.

How does the scam work?

According to a national bank fraud website, a team of organized criminals install the equipment on legitimate bank ATMs to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN.

The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM.

A “skimmer” is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.

At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.

The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers they garnered through the camera to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.

Bank officials say that if you see an attachment that looks out of place, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM or call 911 for police assistance.

Bank experts tell customers to cover the keys as they are entering their PIN, because that will keep the scammers from using their card.

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