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Fairfax police seek suspects in ATM skimmer cases (Photos)

Monday - 7/21/2014, 4:00pm  ET

skimmar.jpg
Police are trying to indentify several men believed to be skimming bank information at ATMs in Fairfax County. (Courtesy Fairfax County Police Department)
  • Gallery: (6 images)

Scammers are using skimmers to rip you off

WTOP's Nick Ianelli reports

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WASHINGTON -- Police are looking to the public to catch ATM scammers who recently hit four ATMs in Fairfax County. Similar cases have been reported in Loudoun and Stafford counties.

Fairfax County police spokesman says Don Gotthardt says it's not uncommon for ATM scams to be a region-wide problem.

Police say they were first notified after bank security personnel noticed a group of men placing skimming devices on the drive-through ATM at a SunTrust Bank on Burke Commons Road on July 6. Initially, police said the three suspects were described as white men in their 30s and that one carried a pizza box.

In new information, Gotthardt says, "One of the photographs we have now from the ATM machine appears to show a white female."

Police say ATM skimming devices were also placed at SunTrust banks at two other addresses on June 6, June 28 and June 29. The other addresses were on Rolling Road and Richmond Highway.

Gotthardt hopes people will take a look at the photos of the suspects and call police with any tips.

He says the county's financial crimes detectives are aware and are in constant communication with surrounding jurisdictions, especially when similar crimes are happening.

Bill Kennedy, a spokesman for the Stafford County Sheriff's Office, says on July 12 at the Sun Trust Bank in North Stafford (40 Prosperity Lane) a bank manager found a skimmer on an ATM after a consumer's complaint. Kennedy says there was another ATM skimmer case at Navy Federal Credit at 261 Garrisonville Road on July 7.

Kennedy says Stafford detectives have been in contact with detectives in Northern Virginia because of the similarities in the incident.

Also on July 12, Leesburg police have pictures of an unidentified man placing a skimming device on a drive-through ATM at the Sun Trust bank in the Battlefield Shopping Center in Leesburg.

Gotthardt advises anyone to be cautious when using ATMs and offers tips in spotting the devices.

First he says the skimmer devices are small and fit over the slot where cards are inserted. They're often attached to ATMs with glue or double-sided tape.

He says to look for hidden pinhole cameras near the ATM as well. Make sure the keypad hasn't been tampered with or that there is on overlay on the keypad. If there are people around, it's important to protect the PIN by shielding the keypad.

Gotthardt also suggests using ATMs that are located inside of a bank, where it's unlikely scammers will place a skimming device.

Kathy Stewart and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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