The next time you go to use an ATM in Victoria, police suggest giving the card reader a tug before inserting your card.
In the last six weeks, officers have seized various ATM card skimmers from privately-owned ATMs in three different locations throughout the city. The locations, however, aren’t being named to protect the ongoing investigation but police said they were in isolated, high traffic areas with not a lot of video monitoring.
According to financial crimes Det. Sgt. Derek Tolmie, the card skimmers are placed over regular card input slots, collect financial data from the cards, then pass the information onto fraudsters.
One of the devices, which Tolmie called the least sophisticated of the three, is a part made for a legitimate ATM that was altered by criminals, but looks legitimate from the outside. On the back is a battery that powers the skimmer and captures data from the card as it goes into the ATM. Sticky tape keeps everything in place.
“You can actually pull this off with very little effort,” said Tolmie. “If you go up to your ATM machine and make it a practice to actually give it a good tug, if it doesn’t come off, chances are it’s a legitimate ATM that you’re using. If you pull this off, give me a call.”
The second skimmer found by police is a bit more sophisticated, explained Tolmie, in that the chip is a bit smaller, the battery is smaller and the wiring is more professional.
The most sophisticated operation Tolmie has seen thus far is a combination of a skimmer and a small camera that looks like a nondescript piece of the ATM facade on the outside. On the inside, however, is a camera with two batteries that captured three to four hours of people entering their pin numbers on an ATM.
Police were made aware of the skimmers after they were discovered by the ATM owners.
“We know that this has been going on in our community. We are a tourist-oriented region,” said Tolmie, noting any victims would most likely be compensated by their financial institutions. “We have received, on certain dates, information from different financial institutions that they’ve had compromises, but at the end of the day, this is concrete proof.”
Anyone with information about is asked to call 250-995-7654.