SAN MATEO POLICE DEPARTMENT
200 Franklin Parkway
San Mateo, CA 94403
FRAUD OF DEBIT CARDS
SMPD received 80 reported cases of ATM/Debit card skimmer fraud during the month of December. SMPD Detectives were able to determine that the Suspects surreptitiously broke into a gas pump paying machine, and attached “a skimmer device” to the back of the key pad at the ARCO Gas Station located at 1950 South Delaware Street. The skimmer was connected to a wireless recording device which captures the ATM card number and the PIN number. The victim customers have no way of knowing the device is attached because it does not disrupt the normal operation of an ATM machine, or the Gas Pump in this case, and does not interrupt any other functions.
The debit card information was recovered by the suspects via a wireless transmitter, electronically transferred via computer, handheld device, or smart phone and encoded onto a blank card so they can make withdrawals at any bank ATM cash machine. The suspects targeted ARCO because it is the only gas station where debit cards are accepted.
We believe the device was attached around 12/04/09 and removed prior to detection around 12/17/09. Similar fraud cases have recently occurred in Rocklin, Torrance, Glendale, Santa Clarita, and throughout Southern California.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Call the SMPD Investigation Services Unit at 650-522-7650 or call the SMPD Secret Witness Anonymous Hotline at 650-522-7676 with any information relating to these cases, or if you discover you are a victim.
SECURITY TIPS: The only way a victim customer will know their ATM or bank information is compromised is if they check their balance. The suspects will withdraw cash at night when the banks are closed. Once the card is denied the suspect will discard it.
Anyone who uses their ATM/Debit card for purchases should check their balance daily! Log onto your account and review your purchase history. Even if you haven’t made any purchases during the day, check to verify there was no unauthorized account activity.
Always protect your PIN number from others and never have it written down in your wallet, purse, organizer etc…
Pay with cash!
Use a pre-paid ATM card. You can manage the amount you have available and it is not linked to your main bank account/funds.
If you find unauthorized withdrawal’s contact your local police and report an Identity Theft report. Remember, your ATM card number, PIN number, or bank account information is defined as personal identifying information under section 530.55(b) of the Penal Code. This is Identity Theft!
For additional information about “skimmers” please refer to the following City of San Mateo Web Site http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/index.aspx?NID=1630&ART=3179&admin=1
Please join your Neighborhood Watch group. If one doesn’t exist, you can start one with help from SMPD. For additional information about the City of San Mateo Neighborhood Watch Program, call Sergeant Dave Norris at 522-7626 or visit our web http://www.cityofsanmateo.org