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    Washington Post: Thousands of dollars taken from bank accounts linked to ATM card skimmer

    The Washington Post reports that police suspect a Wachovia ATM was hacked and a “skimmer” added to steal bank card data. “Skimmers” are devices that read and capture data off magnetic strips on credit cards, driver’s licenses, ATM cards. It isn’t hard to find the technology for credit- or debit-card skimming. Card readers are readily available from stores for a few hundred dollars. Bars and clubs have used off-the-shelf card readers to gather data from customers’ driver’s licenses or ID cards.

    The Post reports:

    Thousands of dollars in unauthorized withdrawals were made from bank accounts in the Washington area after a skimming device was attached to an ATM in Alexandria, authorities said.

    The device, which captures bank card information, was spotted Feb. 28 at a Wachovia branch in the 3600 block of King Street. Alexandria police said several customers have reported fraudulent charges, with total losses estimated at more than $60,000. […]

    The device, which includes a slot for insertion of the card, is usually fastened to the front of the ATM. Sometimes, additional equipment is used to capture PINs. […]

    In 2008, a man pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to stealing more than $200,000 with a skimming device. Money was reportedly taken from more than 70 accounts at bank branches in Maryland and Virginia.

    A 2009 report in the Richmond Times Dispatch, quoting law enforcement officials, said skimming losses around the world are in the billions. It said about $500,000 was obtained last year from 100 Virginia victims.

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