Town & Country Bank ATMs hit by ‘skimmers’ on arts, crafts weekend


This photo depicts what ATM skimming devices may look like installed on an ATM. At right is the original ATM; on the left, the top arrow points to a miniature video camera that is aimed at the keypad to record users PIN numbers. The lower arrow shows the card skimmer installed on top of the original card slot. The skimmer reads the card data as the card is inserted. Two of Town & Country Bank’s ATMs were hit by skimmers, but banks are not the only target. Any point-of-sale card machine can be compromised. Click to enlarge.


Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 — Debit or credit card users who used two of Town & Country Bank and Trust ATMs had their card information stolen during a 24-hour period on the weekend of the Bardstown Arts, Crafts & Antique Fair Oct. 10 and 11.

news-graphics-2008-_659253aAccording to Carrie Masterson, executive vice president of operations and risk management, an unknown individual placed devices called “skimmers” on the bank’s ATM machines at its main branch downtown and at the John Rowan bank branch near Peebles. The devices collected the card information from every user for about a 24-hour period.

A skimmer is a device that looks like a legitimate part of the card reader on an ATM machine, but it is designed to read users data and either store it or wirelessly transmit it to the thief.

Bank President Raffo Wimsett said bank security video showed that on Saturday, Oct. 10, a man walked up and installed the skimmers after banking hours in broad daylight. The individual left and returned the following day and removed the devices and the cameras from both ATMs.

Masterson said the thief also covered over the ATM’s built-in cameras and placed a hidden video camera to record users PIN numbers as they were entered. The card information and PIN numbers were apparently sold to individuals who used the data to create new cards and attempt to make cash withdrawals at other ATMs. The skimmers intercepted card information and PIN numbers from any card user during that time, regardless of the issuing financial institution.

Fraudulent transactions began showing up the weekend of Oct. 17 and 18, Masterson said. Falcon, the bank’s fraud management company, detected suspicious activity in bank customer accounts and took immediate action, alerting customers and canceling their cards.

For Wimsett, the crime hit close to home. His wife received a call from Falcon that weekend alerting her to a suspicious out-of-state cash withdrawal on her card.

Thanks to Falcon’s quick action, Masterson said the bank was on top of the data theft when it opened for business Monday and it continued to alert affected customers and replace their cards

Town & Country wasn’t the only bank affected, Masterson said. Banks in Marion and Washington counties were also hit by skimmer devices.

The data thefts were reported to Bardstown Police and the U.S. Secret Service. The bank’s security video was turned over for to police to help identify the suspect who placed the skimmers.

CARD READER RISKS. Bank ATMs aren’t the only devices at risk of skimming, Wimsett said. Nearly any point-of-sale device that uses a card reader can be compromised, including card readers at gas pumps.

The thieves often try to install them in areas where there are fewer security cameras visible, for example, on fuel pumps facing away from the main store on the far reaches of a property.

ATM users should examine the machine they are going to use each time they use it, Wimsett said.

“If anything looks out of place, or if there’s tape over the ATM’s camera, don’t use it,” he said. “Call the bank or police if anything looks suspicious.”

Masterson said customers should check their statements and immediately report activity that looks suspicious or fraudulent. Customers are not responsible for charges that result in the fraudulent use of their card.

TIPS TO AVOID BEING SKIMMED. Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.

— When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.

— If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers).

— Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas…they are a popular target of skimmers.

— If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.


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