I-Team: How to spot a skimmer that could steal your money

STATEWIDE (WGME) — Belfast police continue to investigate after they say it appears a skimming device was installed at a credit union ATM. As we told you earlier this week, dozens of customers had thousands of dollars stolen from their accounts.

This is just the latest incident where police say a skimmer has been used to steal money. From Brewer to Wells, the I-Team counted at least seven skimming attacks in the past few months in Maine.

According to a national card alert service, skimming incidents have increased nationwide by more than 500% in the last couple years.

A skimmer is a device placed over a real ATM slot and used by thieves to steal account and PIN information.

Security experts say skimmers are getting more sophisticated and may be tough to detect.

"The first is they need to look at the ATM, and make sure that there's no signs of tampering or anything like that. The next thing, which is a big one, is to tug on the card reader, which is very often the green piece. If that pops off, they should notify the banking officials and the police department," said crime analyst Jordon Garrison.

Experts say other ways to spot a skimmer:

  • Color of the card reader may be slightly off
  • Look for any wires sticking out
  • Look at the ATM next to yours and compare them for any obvious differences

Thieves also target gas pumps so check for a security sticker — usually near the card slot — to make sure it's not broken.

Police say if anything seems out of the ordinary, don't use the machine and report your concerns.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off