Identity thieves stealing information through ATM skimming devices are increasingly preying on customers in Queens, with reports of skimming incidents quadrupling in a 10-week time period this year compared to last, police say.
The NYPD is posting warning fliers on ATMs in East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and North Corona, showing customers how to spot a skimming device. Skimmers have been found in ATMs at gas stations and convenience stores, and the high-tech devices resemble real cardreaders.
Last year, there were 16 reports of skimming over a 10-week period in the neighborhoods comprising the NYPD's 115th Precinct; this year, over the same time period, the number has quadrupled to 63, according to the NYPD.
Residents were startled to hear of the growing problem of skimmers, which have been plaguing other parts of the tri-state, too.
"I've heard of this scheme but I didn't know it was going on right here," said Haily McCracken of East Elmhurst.
"I don't think it's good for the neighborhood, that's for sure," said Brendan Ryan.
ATM customers should cover the keypad with their hands as they punch in their PIN code, authorities advise. They can also grab the cardreader and jiggle it to make sure there aren't any skimming devices already installed. Anything loose or glued on is a redflag.
Customers should also check their bank accounts regularly.
As the ID thieves get more high-tech, consumers need to keep up, too, experts say. Most banks offer apps or phone alerts so customers get warned instantly if there's unusual activity in their bank accounts.