At least a dozen people are victims of identity theft after a corning ATM machine was fixed with a skimming device.
It's a crime that is spreading, and it’s almost impossible to detect.
Cases like these are problematic for police because by the time the crime is reported, the crooks are usually already out of town.
A few corning U.S. Bank customers got a shock two weeks ago when their bank balance came up zero.
“People that were using the ATM machine came to us and said we have some activity on our cards that is not coming from us,” said Sgt. Bassett of the Corning Police Department.
Investigators determined that customers had all used the outdoor ATM at the U.S. Bank on Solano Street in Corning.
“Well it’s a federal crime, obviously because it is occurring through the banks system,” said Bassett.
That crime Sgt. Bassett is referring to is becoming all too common in the North State. People are using ‘skimming’ devices to steal debit and credit card numbers.
“They are just mainly pulling the numbers, they use the magnetic strip on the back and obtain that information and then they sell it to somebody down south,” said Bassett.
The electronic devices read your card before it enters the ATM, and often have a camera that captures your pin number.
But the crime is not limited to ATM s, just ask Sgt Bassett.
“We returned back and from a rental car service, somebody skimmed our card and charged 4-800 dollars on our account... so it happens to everybody,” said Bassett.
Luckily, banks usually repay any missing funds, but that can take days.
To protect yourself, experts say you should look for anything suspicious on an ATM, or do things the old fashioned way and see an actual teller. Never hand your card off to another person, and always remember that cash is an alternative.
Corning police do not have any leads in the case. They say they are working directly with bank investigators to see if ATM video cameras caught a picture of the suspects.