Police in Jefferson Township are investigating reports that a skimmer was used to hack into the accounts of Lakeland Bank customers, and there is evidence that it’s happened at other locations as well.
Article Based upon Channel 12 Report & Jefferson Police
“We've had up to 20 reports that we know of, of customers who've used their bank card and their information was used again,” says Detective Richard Geib.
The detective says that the investigation started at the Lakeland Bank branch in the Oak Ridge section of town. He says that customers in towns like Hoboken and Jersey City may also be affected. Social media posts seem to indicate that customers in Bloomingdale were also affected.
A skimming device appears to have been used to steal account information. Police say it began on Dec. 23. Detective Gieb says that this is a common type of crime.
“You can actually purchase ATM skimming equipment right on the internet,” he says. “It’s something you have to be aware of just like any other credit card fraud.”
Several people posted on social media stating that they had hundreds of dollars stolen due to the breach. A News 12 New Jersey viewer says that she lost about $1,000.
Anyone who thinks that their bank accounts may have been compromised is urged to contact their local police department.
Lakeland Bank did not provide any official comment on the issues but did respond to customers on its Facebook page. The bank said it was working to fix the issues.
How to Spot and Avoid Credit Card Skimmers
Skimmers are essentially malicious card readers that grab the data off the card's magnetic stripe attached to the real payment terminals so that they can harvest data from every person that swipes their cards.
The typical ATM skimmer is a device smaller than a deck of cards that fits over the existing card reader. Most of the time, the attackers will also place a hidden camera somewhere in the vicinity with a view of the number pad to record personal-identification-numbers or PINs.
Check for Tampering before using the ATM
When you approach an ATM, check for some obvious signs of tampering at the top of the ATM, near the speakers, the side of the screen, the card reader itself, and the keyboard. If something looks different, such as a different color or material, graphics that aren't aligned correctly, or anything else that doesn't look right, don't use that ATM. The same is true for credit card readers.
Here are the steps you can take to protect yourself!
- Use secure ATMs under video surveillance or inside of a bank lobby. They're less likely to be tampered with.
- Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally look like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
- Don't use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, fits poorly, or is loose. Some thieves place a fake box over the card slot that reads and records account and PIN numbers.
- Call the customer service number on the ATM immediately if a machine appears suspicious or if it does not function properly.