Skimmer found at Walmart in Airmont

New City Patch report Feb. 1, 2023:

AIRMONT, NY — “National Identity Theft Awareness Week got underway Monday, and on Tuesday Ramapo police announced they are investigating an incident involving a skimmer device installed on a self-checkout cash register at the Walmart in Airmont.

Ramapo Police released a photo of the skimmer found on a self-checkout register at the Walmart in Airmont.

The device was discovered Tuesday. It is unknown at this time when the device was placed on the register, police said.

Therefore, anyone who used the self-checkout register at Walmart is encouraged to check their accounts for suspicious activity.”Please contact your bank if you observe any suspicious activity on your debit or credit cards,” police said. “If you find that you were a victim of a skimming activity that occurred within the town of Ramapo please contact RPD.”

On Wednesday, the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection warned New Yorkers on Wednesday about skimming scams and offered tips.

Skimming scams are when thieves place devices at ATMs, gas station pumps and other unattended payment terminals to steal card information. Scammers place these hidden devices over or inside card reading machines at legitimate retailers to directly copy card and PIN information, and then use the stolen data to withdraw funds, make illicit purchases or commit other forms of fraud.

“According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year,” Acting New York State Police Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said in the announcement. “While our highly trained investigators and specialized units deploy sophisticated techniques to catch these criminals and stop them from defrauding New Yorkers, it’s important for consumers to be aware of their surroundings and the steps they can take to protect themselves. I urge all New Yorkers to be vigilant in taking precautions to safeguard their identities.”

Tips on how to spot a potential skimming scam:

  • Inspect the card reading machine for an overlay device. Check for unusual set-ups including abnormal bulkiness, any residues, different color, material or shape. Check to see if it’s loose around the card reader. If it moves, consider using another machine.
  • Check the keypad. Thieves may place a phony keypad overlay to store keystrokes. If the buttons look or feel different, don’t use it.
  • Choose your ATM location wisely. Machines located inside banks or indoor locations are more secure than an ATM located on the street where anyone can access it.
  • Look for any hidden cameras. Thieves often place cameras near the vicinity in order to record PIN numbers. The camera may be mounted at the top or in the ceiling of a terminal. Protect yourself by shielding the PIN pad when entering a PIN number. Use your hand and/or body to cover your PIN when you type it in.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly. Victims are often unaware of fraudulent charges or activities until the next attempted purchase or account review. It’s important to frequently monitor your accounts for unauthorized charges.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides resources and education materials to consumers on identity theft prevention and mitigation, as well as voluntary mediation services between consumers and businesses. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time here.

Story posted on the New City Patch here.

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