The Winchester Police Department is asking the public to help identify a man connected to a fraud operation. Investigators are working with the Bank of Clarke County on a skimming case that compromised debit cards of nearly 80 customers.
An investigation from the bank determined someone illegally placed a skimming device on the drive- through ATM located at 2555 S. Pleasant Valley Road, on February 18, 2017. The card reader captured data from dozens of customers who used the machine to withdraw money or check account balances. Investigators believe the suspect removed the device approximately 12 hours later to retrieve the data. With skimmers, thieves are able to steal information from the card’s magnetic strip, and even record PIN numbers. Bank of Clarke County officials believe a total of 79 cards were compromised.
Over the last week, local Law Enforcement agencies have taken several reports from residents who noticed fraudulent charges on their bank statements. At the same time, customers helped bank staff piece together information and zero in on when the crime occurred.
“The fast response by the financial institution mitigated what could have been a much more serious issue,” said Detective Craig Smith with the Winchester Police Department. “Employees were quick to find the source of the skimming incident. They canceled customer’s cards, issued new cards, and immediately notified customers who were impacted,” Smith said.
Surveillance photos from the ATM captured the suspect’s face as well as the rear of the vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a Honda Odyssey minivan. The license plate is not visible.
“Bank of Clarke County makes every effort to keep customer credit and debit card information safe. Discovering this incident was a cooperative effort between employees and customers, and we thank the customers for their proactive response in alerting us to unauthorized transactions,” said John Hudson, Senior Vice President of Bank of Clarke County.
The Winchester Police Department offers these tips for inspecting ATM’s:
- 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.
- Wiggle everything – nothing on the ATM should jiggle or move when pulled. Make sure the keyboard and card reader are securely attached. Skimmers read the magnetic stripe as the card is inserted, so give the card a bit of a wiggle as you put it in. Wiggling the card as you enter it in the slot won’t interfere with your transaction, but will foil the skimmer.
- Cover the keypad – assume someone is looking over your shoulder or through a hidden camera. Always cover the keypad with your hand when you enter your PIN.
- Look for anything that is suspicious, including any small device or camera that may be hidden in a brochure rack.
More detailed safety information is available at http://www.bankofclarke.com/safetytips.html.
Any customers who suspect they may also be a victim should file a report with their bank and local law enforcement agency. Police and bank officials agree that one of the best ways to protect your money is to be cautious. They urge residents to monitor bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized charges.
Anyone with additional information on the case, or the suspects or suspect vehicle, should contact Det. Craig Smith at (540) 545-4720. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous can also call the Crime Solvers Hotline at (540) 665-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest may result in a reward of up to $1,000.