press release - 03081702

ATM Skimmer Suspects


ATM Skimmer Suspects

Public Assistance Requested to Identify ATM Skimmer Suspects


Orcutt - March 8th, 2017


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is requesting public assistance to help identify and locate several suspects wanted for placing skimmer devices on ATM machines at two Rabobanks this past Sunday, March 5, 2017.  The skimmers were located by patrons at the Rabobank branches located in the 1500 block of S. Broadway in Santa Maria and the 1100 block of E. Clark Avenue in Orcutt. 


The skimmers were placed on the ATM machines in Orcutt at approximately 5:23 a.m. and were discovered and reported to law enforcement at approximately 11:30 a.m.  The skimmers were placed at the Santa Maria branch at approximately 5:39 a.m. and when the suspects returned at 12:36 p.m. to collect the skimmers, they had already been collected by law enforcement. 


The scammers used double-sided tape to install the devices over the card readers. Further investigation revealed they also installed false money dispenser covers that contained small video cameras used to capture code entries on the pin pad.  Fortunately, it appears that law enforcement collected all of the skimmers before the suspects had a chance to collect them.


The way the skimmers work is that when a customer swipes their card in the machine, the skimmers essentially grab the data off the card’s magnetic stripe, which can then be used to access their bank account or to create clone cards.   Since the typical skimmer is typically smaller than a deck of cards and neatly fits over the card reader, they can be difficult to detect.  In addition to ATM machines, they are also most commonly found on fuel pumps.  The information cannot be used unless the scammers are able to collect the devices.


Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a skimming device:


·     Pull on the card reader, it should be intact and not loose.

·     Wiggle your card slightly as you are putting it in the machine.

·     Cover your keypad with your hand when you type in your PIN.

·     Use an ATM located inside a bank, grocery store or restaurant if possible.

·     Be especially cautious when using ATMs on the weekend when skimming devices are most prevalent.

·     If possible, avoid using your card’s magstripe and instead insert your card for its EMV chip to be read.

·     If something doesn’t feel right about an ATM machine or a credit card reader, don’t use it.

·     Report suspicious card readers to the bank/business and contact law enforcement right away.

·     Pay attention to your bank records to monitor your debit and credit card transactions.

·     Pay attention to phone calls from your bank alerting you to possible fraud detection.


The Sheriff’s Office requests anyone with information regarding the recent ATM skimmers and the suspects seen in the surveillance photos, to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (805) 934-6150 or to leave an anonymous tip call 805-681-4171.


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


Business Hours: (805) 681-4100

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