Beware Scams At Your ATM

ATM, 020415, GD AP

Card in ... Cash out.

Americans bank on their ATM. More than 41 million transactions a day.

But if scammers always follow the money, they've found the ATM, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"It's hard to trust anybody at an ATM," says Joanne Polsgrove, who was burned in an ATM scam.

"$703 within five minutes. Within five minutes he went straight across the street to another bank and got it out immediately,'' sayd Polsgrove.

Andrea McCorkle got scorched in the same scam.

"So I just walked up and stuck my card in the machine,'' she says.

Her card stayed stuck inside – in an ATM scam.

Magnetic tape, wedged inside the ATM's card slot traps the victim's card.

The con man -- who spied on his victims to learn their PIN -- later secretly pulls out the card and loots every last dime.

"My husband was furious because he thought I had done wiped out the account," says McCorkle. "All these large withdrawals. it was like close to $3,000 ….. $3,000."

ATM scams cost tens of millions of dollars a year.

One involves the Russian Mafia and a machine, a computer parasite … a custom-made shell to cover the face of the real ATM.

U.S. Secret Service agent Greg James says the computer parasite "skims" or reads your A-T-M card from the hapless user.

"The device right here would be used to capture that full track data information. The touch screen pad would capture your pin information," says James.

Another scam is attacking America's ATM machines. Stolen data gets stamped onto bogus credit cards. And within a day, could be paying for a shopping spree overseas, while the skimming scammers skip town.

"Very mobile. Everything to make a credit card I can put in a suitcase."

The ATM industry is reimbursing victims. Working with investigators. And toughening security, on cards and machines.

"Fraud is a fact of life in this industry and it's something the industry has been dedicating to fighting since day one,'' says Kurt Helwig, with the Electronic Funds Transfer Association.

Fighting scams that turn your ATM into a scammer's piggy bank.
  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.

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