Credit card skimming on the rise as Indiana man gets arrested

A man in Indiana was charged with credit card skimming and arrested as he drove away from one of the banks he allegedly targeted, underscoring the rise in rigged ATMs.

The man, identified as Tirlea Dumitru, was arrested in Indiana for attempting to defraud a federally insured financial institution, according to a statement by the Department of Justice.

The incident began when a bank in Warsaw, Ind. reported a device had been placed on its ATM on Nov. 28.  At that time, law enforcement had been investigating reports of skimming devices on bank ATMs and credit card readers at gas stations.


Law enforcement then conducted surveillance on the ATM, according to the DOJ statement.

On Nov. 30, Dumitru pulled up to the ATM but then drove off without completing a transaction. Law enforcement pursued the man, conducted a traffic stop and arrested him, according to the DOJ, citing documents in the case.

“Dumitru was identified based on ATM surveillance video,” the DOJ said.

When a card skimmer is installed, it reads the magnetic strip on the credit card and stores the number. In some cases, the PIN number can be captured too if a phony keypad is installed or if the criminal has mounted a camera to record customers keying in their PIN number.

The thief will then use the card information to make purchases, drain an account, or make fraudulent credit/debit cards for unauthorized transactions.


Jump in incidents

Last year, there was a 10 percent rise in the number of debit cards compromised at U.S. ATMs and merchants, analytic software firm FICO reported in March.

“The number of compromises and the number of card members impacted set a new record” in 2017 FICO said in a statement.

FICO advises that if “an ATM looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly, consider going somewhere else for your cash.”

And if the card is captured inside of an ATM, call your credit card company to report it. In some cases that may indicate a skimmer is present, FICO said.

Finally, never approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby.