Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Monday, June 10, 2013

Warning to consumers; ATM Tampering at Boise bank discovered!

  Boise Police want to reminding citizens to be diligent about checking their credit and debt card statements after bank employees say an ATM has been tampered with outside a Boise bank.

  If you see a charge on your bank statement that you didn't make, you call your bank or financial institution and your local police department immediately.

   What Happened: Boise Police were notified Friday night, June 7th, by employees of a local Boise bank located on State Street, that an ATM appeared to have been tampered with. On Saturday, June 8th, the ATM was examined by a technician after it had been reported broken the previous evening and contacted police. 

  At this time, it is unknown if any consumer cards have been compromised. To date, Boise Police have not had any reports from citizens saying a fraudulent transaction came from that location.

  What is a Credit Card Skimmer? A credit card skimmer is a device designed to steal your financial data when you’re accessing either a point of sale, such as at a gas station pump, or an ATM machine.

When you insert your debit or credit card into a cash machine, for example, a reader on the inside of the machine interprets the information on your card’s magnetic strip and that, coupled with the PIN you type into the keypad, gives you access to the money in your bank accounts. If you put your card into a machine that has a skimmer device on it, the skimmer also has a reader in it that records the information on your card’s magnetic strip. A second element of a skimmer is able to record your PIN, thus giving the criminal access to funds in that account.

In the most recent cases, thieves have placed the skimmers on the inside of the credit card reader, attaching the skimmer to the internal circuitry of the machine. That means consumers using the machines would never notice the device and would only find out they've been victimized by checking their financial statements or being alerted by their financial institution of suspicious charges.

   Advice to Consumers: Check Your Financial Statements: Credit Card Skimmers are not new. This time they've been found at gas stations, next time it could be an ATM or similar device. As always, officers advise credit and debt card users to carefully inspect transaction statements and report any fraudulent charges to their financial institution and to local police. Local police agencies work closely with the US Secret Service to track and investigate these types of crimes since they often cross local jurisdictional, even state or international boundaries.

Financial crimes detectives say this is a national crime trend. Again, the best defense is to keep a close eye on your accounts and notify your financial institution and local police immediately if you find unauthorized transactions.

    Call 911 if: Detectives believe the thieves are able to install the skimmers quickly but must spend some time at the machine to dis-assemble it to some degree. Many of the suspects found responsible for these types of crimes are not local, but travel to different locations installing the skimmers then return some time later to retrieve them. Anyone who sees suspicious activity near a gas pump or ATM should call 911 immediately.

   From the FBI: How to Avoid being Skimmed

- Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.

- When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.

- If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers).

- Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas…they are a popular target of skimmers.

- If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

FBI Release: Taking a trip to the ATM? Beware of Skimmers