BILLINGS – The Billings Police Department released new information about a credit card skimming scheme that has hit Billings.
Lt. Brandon Wooley with the Billings Police Department said this is the first time this type of fraud scheme has targeted the Billings area, and so far over 80 victims have been identified.
The department announced that they have identified three persons of interest out of Florida, and believe the three recruited locals to withdraw money from ATM’s in Billings.
Wooley said they do this so that when the money is taken out of a persons account, it is coming from a location in Billings and therefore less likely to be a red flag for the individual or their bank.
So far, no arrests have been made.
Police report they continue to receive reports of fraud and believe there are more cases that haven’t been reported. Wooley said he believes the number of victims will be over 100 by the time all is said and done.
Wooley said it is important for people to be aware that your credit card information can be stolen and used even when your card is still in your possession.
This particular scam is done with a skimmer, which is attached to a place where a card may be inserted like an ATM. The skimmer than records the card information and the scammers than use that information to duplicate your card to be used at an ATM.
Wooley said folks should use highly trafficked, well lit and secure ATM’s to help avoid problems. He said skimmers are more likely to be placed on ATM’s that are in areas with little light, and no cameras, like one in the back corner of a bar.
“If there is an unusual device next to where your card is you can tug on it and see if its stuck on with like double sided tape,” said Wooley.
He also mentioned that if you are having a difficult time inserting your card into a machine, it could be a sign to move on.
Wooley told MTN that is it important for those who were scammed to report the incident to police as it will help with their investigation and also help you to get reimbursement from your bank as many banks will ask for a police report number before proceeding.
The BPD asks anyone who has information or may have had contact with the group, including those who may have assisted in withdrawing money from the ATM’s, to contact the investigations division at 657-8473.