Skimming scheme nets thousands

Oct. 18, 2011 at 8:07 PM
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HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- New England Bank customers have become victims of a skimming scheme in which money was stolen from their accounts through ATMs in Turkey, bank officials said.

Tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the accounts of about 150 Webster Bank customers beginning last spring and continuing until as recently as last week, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Monday.

"A number of banks were affected by this fraud ring," said Robert Guenther, Webster spokesman. "Any customer who was victimized by this scam will be made whole. We apologize for any inconvenience."

The scheme involved electronic devices attached to ATMs operated by Webster Bank and at least two other banks. The devices read information from customers' debit cards while a hidden camera recorded their PINs.

That information was then used by thieves in Istanbul, Turkey, to create fake debit cards they used to withdraw the money.

"The newest skimmers are hard to detect," said Frank Siciliano, a security expert in Boston. "Some are equipped with wireless communication. If the skimmer is swiped, a text message is sent to the bad guy who could be anywhere."

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