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State Police investigate skimmer discovery at Oneonta ATM

ONEONTA, N.Y.-- New York State Police out of Oneonta are searching for a suspect after they say he placed a card skimming device inside a bank's ATM.

Posted: May. 21, 2018 6:48 PM
Updated: May. 21, 2018 6:54 PM

ONEONTA, N.Y.-- New York State Police out of Oneonta are searching for a suspect after they say he placed a skimming device inside a bank's ATM.

On May 19th, employees at the Community Bank, N.A. location on NY-23 alerted police to the discovery of a skimming device.

Skimmers can read the magnetic strip off a credit card, ATM card or debit card. They are frequently found in ATMS, gas pumps and other outdoor card-swiping stations. They can lay over the slot to insert a card or they can be placed deeper within a machine.

A captain with NYSP Troop C said the Community Bank ATM in Oneonta automatically disabled itself when it could sense heavy tampering. The machine also took a picture of the suspect, whom officers recognized from a skimmer incident in another state.

"It appears to be the same person who was involved in a situation in Scranton, Pennsylvania in late January, early February of this year," Captain Scott Heggelke said. 

Bank officials at the local branch would not speak on camera, but corporate officials sent the following statement from Hal Wentworth, the company's Senior Vice President for Retail Banking.

"For the protection of our customers, it is Community Bank N.A.’s policy to not comment on security related matters. We are cooperating with law enforcement on this ongoing investigation. Customers who might suspect fraudulent activity on their accounts should always contact their local branch office as Community Bank follows VISAs zero-liability policy, which protects our customers from fraud or unauthorized use of their accounts."

Heggelke said officers still don't know when the skimmer was placed in the Oneonta ATM, only that it was discovered May 19th. 

"As of this time we haven't heard from anybody who felt that their data was compromised," Heggelke said. 

Not every scammer must return to the ATM to retrieve their skimming device. 

"We've received alerts that both can be done, physically retrieve it and it can also be done remotely," Heggelke said. "The banking community is on top of these things. They keep on top of trends and they work hard to combat any types of fraud."

Anyone who recognizes the suspect from the ATM photograph is asked to call NYSP at (607)432-4844.

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