Beware of ATM skimming

August 5, 2009 8:37:57 PM PDT
It's a high-tech heist that sounds like a scene from a James Bond movie. Crooks are using high-tech equipment at one ATM to steal from hard-working Houstonians. It's far from new, but it's hitting at least one local woman in the pocket. One victim warns to keep an eye on your accounts and to keep your eyes open at the ATM. This victim asks we not show her face, so we'll call her Jane. Making a stop at this Montrose ATM is part of her and her husband's routine.

"We use it maybe once a week," said Jane.

Following a weekend withdrawal, Jane's husband got a phone call.

"My husband was told someone tampered with his card in the middle of the week," said Jane.

He noticed two withdrawals for a total of $600 at this Chase Bank on Buffalo Speedway. Both said they never withdrew money from there.

This couple is not alone. The Houston Police Department says the suspect used a skimmer device with blue tooth technology to download customer information remotely along with a camera housed in a box on the side of the ATM to see the pin numbers on the key pad.

A spokesperson for Chase Bank says, "Customers are not responsible for charges they did not make. If we confirm a transaction was not initiated by the customer, then that customer has zero liability."

Jane and her husband say they are pleased with the response by Chase Bank, but she warns anyone to be observant when withdrawing money.

"It makes you think twice. It wasn't at a gas station, it wasn't at a convenience store," said Jane. "I'm hopeful that no one else will become a victim."

HPD says they do have two people in custody, but no charges have been filed.

Chase Bank asks anyone who notices suspicious behavior near an ATM to report it immediately. The bank also says when it comes to the victims, it has canceled cards, issued new account numbers and reimbursed them for their losses.

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