Masked ‘COVID’ Card Skimmers Hit Area, Cops Suspect Ring
Pasco Police and other Tri-City law enforcement agencies report the card skimmers "are back." And, due to COVID, masks are making cops job a lot harder.
It is not known if these suspects are 'new' or if part of a previous organization that hit a few months ago.
The MO remains the same. The fraudsters set up a fake card reader. It usually fits over the top of the existing unit on ATM's and fueling stations, anywhere you can use your card. There's also a tiny pinhole camera with them. When you slide your card, the skimmer captures your data. Then, the fraudsters ca use this data at nearby ATM's to empty your accounts.
Police say the initial skimmer is believed to have been installed at a convenience store in Richland, but there may be others. The ATMs used to retrieve cash have been scattered all over the Tri-Cities, but a couple of them have been on Road 68 in Pasco.
Area residents are advised to immediately check their accounts for unusual or unauthorized activity, especially large cash withdrawals, and if so, contact the bank or credit union right away. When you're using your ATM at a facility where the clerk is NOT part of the transaction, firmly wiggle and pull on the card reader, and examine it. Also look for any 'broken inspection tape' on the machine. These are indicators it's been tampered with.
Police say one of the multiple suspects has been ID'd by Richland Police, but these others remain at large.
Pasco Police commented they were 'polite' enough to wear masks. This now makes the 4th such suspect or group of suspects in recent weeks who have not been able to be ID'd or located in large part because their masks make it a lot more difficult.
Anyone with any information is urged to call (509)-628-0333. All leads can be confidential.