Thousands of cards deactivated over ATM skimmers
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State Police confirmed Monday local, state, and federal authorities are looking into a major compromise of ATMs along the I-10 corridor from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.
The investigation reportedly centers around devices called "skimmers" which were placed on dozens of ATMs at Whitney Banks. The devices intercept data such as card and PIN numbers during a transaction which thieves can use to gain access to bank accounts.
The Secret Service has since become involved in the investigation as well. A News 2 source claims thousands of credit cards may have been compromised by the breach.
Whitney Bank released a statement Monday afternoon saying they detected unauthorized activity on their ATMs Saturday night. The bank said someone attached a plastic mold and metal plate to the ATM card receptor in order to capture card information and PINs. The bank said they alerted law enforcement and as a precaution deactivated more than 7,100 debit cards, which they are in the process of reissuing.
Authorities think the thieves are likely targeting only one type of bank.
"They usually do focus in one bank, because they study that ATM, they know the inner workings of it, or they've collected equipment from that ATM and so they usually will stick to the same type of bank," said Jacquelyn Norris with the Secret Service.
They warn, though, thieves could hit banks other than Whitney, so you should be vigilant when making an ATM transaction.
"Our advice is: check your accounts daily, if not often, when you come up to an ATM or gas pump, pull on it, usually it's going to be very secure, if there's a slight wiggle, notify law enforcement," said Norris.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends people who are concerned their bank information might be compromised should monitor their accounts and credit reports, change any passwords or PINs, and put a fraud alert on their credit reports if they suspect they've become the victim of identity theft.
Whitney Bank said they are notifying customers they believe were affected and will not let them suffer any losses due to the fraud. Anyone who notices a suspicious device attached to a Whitney ATM should contact authorities.