So much for the holiday spirit. The Albuquerque Police Department has a warning out about thieves putting skimmers on ATMs in Albuquerque.
In the past, ATM skimmers have been seen at gas pumps, but now they’re targeting banks and police want people to be on the lookout to avoid becoming the next victim.
It’s a gold mine for thieves.
“This is a sophisticated crime. They have parts that they manufacture that look exactly like the ATM and they are using a small camera,” said Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik.
In just a matter of seconds, people can become victims of card theft without even knowing it. That was the case at the Bank of Albuquerque on Wyoming near Paseo.
Police say they recently caught a group of thieves on camera placing an identical card skimmer right on top of the ATM’s card reader and hiding a small camera nearby to collect information.
“The cameras are actually capturing your pin number as you enter it,” Officer Drobik said. “So the reader is taking that information from the magnetic strip off of the card, and then they make blank copies of cards with that number that they got, and then they make fake cards and go on a spending spree.”
It’s a crime that ramps up during the holidays, which can be scary for shoppers.
“It’s very scary this time of year with Christmas,” said Albuquerque resident Jill Lyons. “And you know, I like to shop with cash personally so I would assume my card was safe here.”
While APD says checking for a card skimmer is fairly easy, people who KRQE News 13 spoke with weren’t sure how to spot them.
“I would not know how to check for one,” said Albuquerque resident Joe Hedger.
Police say one of the things you can do is tug on the reader – a task that would only take a few seconds but could make a difference.
“When you do use an ATM make sure that everything is secured properly and that there’s nothing loose on them, there’s no wire sticking out,” Officer Drobik said. “Just be diligent.”
APD is asking that anyone who recognizes the suspects in the photos to call Crime Stoppers. They say the suspects were seen in a white SUV or minivan.
Police say there was also a wave of similar skimmer crimes this summer. They’re not sure if it’s the same crooks who were behind those crimes.