ATM thieves get high-tech - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

ATM thieves get high-tech

Like many mid-southerners, Rodney McNeal often uses an ATM to get quick cash. But he got taken to the cleaners after leaving his card inside one of the machines.

"And the next day I realized I didn't have my card and called and tried to cancel and all the money was already gone," says McNeal.

That's how a lot of ATM thefts happen, but some crooks are getting more clandestine. They use devices, called skimmers, placed on top of ATM slots that actually record your card's information. More common are hidden cameras, used to snag your PIN.

"And it's just one way that crook can access your personal information and also your bank account and clean you out," says Sgt. V. Dollahite, Jr. with the Shelby Co. Sheriff's Department.

Crooks use cameras of all different sizes to carry out this crime. Some can even be hidden on the actual ATM. Personal info could be stored on a tape or transmitted to the crook's computer.

"And they've got that whole account number plus the PIN," says Sgt. Dollahite.

Fortunately, investigators say these crimes have yet to crop up in large numbers in and around Memphis. But they're never shocked by the ingenuity of the criminal mind.

"It's not surprising," says Dollahite.

And it may only be a matter of time before a crook cashes in on your account. One tip to avoid getting taken is to cover up the keypad as you enter your PIN. And always use ATM's that are in well-lighted areas and machines that are busy. The busier the machine, the less likely a crook can come in an tamper with it.

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