'Skimming' victim scared as suspects still on the loose

'Skimming' victim scared as suspects still on the loose

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by Anne Yeager

kgw.com

Posted on March 9, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 10 at 6:26 PM

PORTLAND -- Two swindlers are on the loose after skimming ATMs in the Portland Metro area and ripping off innocent people.

A skimmer is a device that goes inside the ATM card holder and steals data from your card's magnetic strip. The skimmers then pick up credit card numbers for, say, online purchases.

Officials would not tell KGW the specific bank names because they say it's a part of their investigation. But they said it involved banks in North Portland, Hillsboro, King City, Tigard and Southeast Portland.

Two crooks have been caught on surveillance cameras over the past six months.

Victim Sean Cosgriff had $2,500 cleared out of his account.

"Your accounts have been compromised, your identity taken, at the same time you're scared," victim Cosgriff said. "What else did they steal and what kind of a mess am i in?"

"It's just an efficient form of thievery, " said Sgt. Dave Thompson, with Washington County. "People need to be aware."

If you want to know if you are a victim, contact your bank and check on unusual withdrawals or charges on your credit card.

Also, the next time you use an ATM outdoors, shake the card holder first.

Police say that the skimmers can be flimsy so the bad guys can grab them quickly and take off.

"If it looks solid you're probably okay because they need to retrieve it fairly quickly and it can't be attached that securely," said Sgt. Thompson.

The crooks use cameras, telescopes, even binoculars to get you entering your pin.

Experts say make sure you cover your hand when entering your pin.

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