Long Island Bank Customer Discovers Skimming Device Planted on ATM

Observant ATM user notices "skimming" device attached to his ATM

An observant ATM user from Long Island stopped a scam that could have cost him and other customers their cash.

Chris Ferraro, a UPS driver from Freeport, was headed home Sunday morning when he stopped to withdraw some money from a Capital One bank ATM in Valley Stream.

Ferraro felt his card stick as he slid it into the machine and grew suspicious.

"Just before I put my code in, I said, let me check out this ATM because, you know, you hear stories on the news. And as I went to wiggle where you put it in, it was loose and I pulled it right off in my hand," Ferraro said.

What Ferraro pulled off, Nassau police confirmed, was a so-called ATM skimming device. Thieves had taped it to the ATM to steal information from customers' bank cards. Ferraro photographed it with his phone before handing it to police.

There was "a lot of technology in it," said Ferraro. "USB port, scan disc -- everything to store a lot of information."

Investigators also found a camera hidden in the ATM.  It was placed there to record customers' pin codes as the numbers were typed in.

"I couldn't believe it," said Ferraro.

Luckily, Ferraro's quick thinking prevented him and others from actually becoming victims. Nassau police are now examining the skimming equipment as they hunt the thieves.

According to a spokesman at ADT Security, ATM skimming is one of the nation's fastest growing crimes, costing banks about $1 billion a year. 

Capitol One bank did not return several calls for comment.

"I never use ATMs. I don't trust them," said bank customer Leslie Solis. "I get my money only from a teller."

But another customer takes precautions suggested by security experts.

"I always cover the ATM number pad with my hand when I type in my pin," said Ernestine Gibbs.  "I am always concerned."

Ferraro felt fortunate he didn't ignore his ATM concerns.

"If you have to shake the whole machine to make sure it looks legit, shake it!"

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