ATM Fraud: Skimming Scheme Nets $200,000 in TexasWord on the street is that ATM skimming is now the most profitable crime, say Houston, Texas police who arrested two men accused of putting a skimming device on a local bank's ATM.
Houston Police Lieutenant Robert Manzo says that John Pierre Griffin and an unidentified man were caught putting the device on an ATM in a bank on the 4300 block of Montrose Boulevard, near the University of St. Thomas on Jan. 19.
Manzo, who works in the police department's financial crimes division, says the police watched as the suspects sat across the street in a black Cadillac Escalade, monitoring the ATM through binoculars. Once they saw customers pull up, the suspects moved in closer and turned on their wireless camera. The camera let them see the customers as they entered their banking PIN into the ATM's keypad.
Manzo says customers can look closely at an ATM machine and often tell if it has been compromised. "The criminal installs a debit card reader on the outside, so your card will go through the suspects' reader first before it makes its way inside the ATM," Manzo says. "You also may see a box above the ATM machine which houses a tiny camera. There might be a pin hole found on the box with the camera lens facing the key pad."
One Houston area bank reports it lost more than $200,000 because of the skimming device, police say.
"We have had suspects tell us that the word among criminals on the street is that skimming is a much more profitable crime to commit, not only because the amount of money they are able to steal very quickly, but also because it is less likely that they will be detected," Manzo says.