Authorities in Thousand Oaks are urging people to use extreme caution after several ATM skimmers were found this month at local banks.
Between April 13 and Wednesday, authorities and local bank technicians discovered five ATM debit cards devices installed inside the machines, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
A “deep insert skimmer” was found inside a walk-up ATM on April 13. Another one was found on April 17 at a bank’s drive-up ATM. Then on Wednesday, three more ATM skimmers were located on three separate walk-up ATMs.
Surveillance footage from one of the ATMs showed two people installing one of the skimming devices, the Sheriff’s Office said.
“It’s been determined that the fraudsters are targeting California Employment Development (EDD) debit cards. The EDD debit cards do not contain EMV chips, which encrypts the data, which allows fraudsters to skim the card data more easily,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement.
The “deep insert skimmer” is described by the Sheriff’s Office as a wafer-thin fraud device made to “fit snugly and invisibly” inside a cash machine’s card acceptance slot which captures access card data.
Along with the skimming device, sheriff’s officials said a thief will usually also install a “pin hole camera” inside the ATM, which is glued or taped to the outside of the ATM machine in place of plastic that is already part of the machine.
The camera is used to get a victim’s personal identification number. Once the debit card data is collected, it can be used to make fraudulent withdrawals from a victim’s account.
In addition to Thousand Oaks, sheriff’s officials said there has been an increased of skimmers used throughout Ventura County and urge people to be cautious.
“The Thousand Oaks Police and the Sheriff’s Office recommends if at all possible utilizing a different form of payment, enter the financial institution to take out cash, or take extra precautions when using an ATM, by covering the key pad with your other hand to block the view of your PIN entry,” the sheriff’s office statement said.
The names of the banks were not released.
Anyone with information about the case or identity of the people seen in the photos can call in anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.