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Four More Say They Are Victims Of Skimmer Scam At Westhampton Beach Bank

Publication: The Southampton Press
By Erin McKinley   Feb 19, 2013 6:33 PM
Feb 20, 2013 12:42 PM

Four more people have come forward this week stating that they are also victims of a skimmer device that authorities believe was attached, at one point, to an ATM at the TD Bank on Montauk Highway in Westhampton Beach.

The reports filed this week increase the number of known victims to 11. Westhampton Beach Police previously said that hundreds of account holders could have been victimized.

According to Westhampton Beach Police Lieutenant Trevor Gonce, a Samantha Circle resident reported this week that approximately $750 went missing from her account, while a Red Field Lane resident reported that just over $200 is now missing.

Last Thursday, February 14, a Hampton Bays woman who uses the ATM at the same branch called Southampton Town Police to report that the bank notified her that someone had attempted several withdrawals from her account, but that it contained insufficient funds to complete the transactions. The account has since been closed, the report notes.

Two days earlier, a Westhampton woman also reported to Town Police that someone stole $1,738 from her account. The woman, who told authorities that she recently used her debit cart at the same TD Bank, also closed out her account after discovering the theft.

A skimmer is a device that can be attached to an ATM’s card reader that scans account information stored on debit cards. At the same time, thieves typically place a tiny camera above an ATM’s keypad so they can match the account with the correct PIN. Once the skimmer is retrieved, the thief can transfer all the information onto a forged card and use it to withdraw money from the accounts.

Last week, seven people reported having been victimized by the scam, losing more than $4,000. Police are urging customers of the bank to review their statements often and, if they believe they are a victim, to contact Westhampton Beach detectives at 631-288-3444.

Lt. Gonce said police have not recovered the skimmer device, suggesting that the thieves already retrieved it. He also said that police are still waiting for TD Bank officials to turn over the footage of security cameras that keep tabs on the ATM.

Detectives have also been working with the banks in Manhattan, where the unauthorized withdrawals are taking place, to identify the perpetrator. This week, two different banks have provided pictures to detectives of the same man they believe is behind the scam. Police have not been able to identify the man and have not released the picture.

Gabe Weissman, the vice president of public relations for TD Bank, urged concerned customers to call the bank at 888-751-9000 to check their accounts. He also encouraged ATM customers to cover their hands when punching in their PINs.

“TD Bank is working with law enforcement to investigate a ‘skimming’ incident involving an illegally installed device at an ATM machine at the TD Bank’s store in Westhampton Beach,” Mr. Weissman wrote in an email. “Protecting our customers’ personal information is something we take very seriously and we sincerely regret any inconvenience this incident has caused.

“TD has reached out to customers who may have been affected by this incident ... and will work with them directly to address and correct any issues as quickly as possible.”

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Sounds odd that Police need to wait for bank officials to turn over surveillance footage of such a crime. I would think that the bank would have some legal obligation to do so. This must be a little unsettling to T.D. Bank customers.
By fish head (7), Southampton on Feb 20, 13 7:15 AM
Sounds like we need to get Suffolk or Southampton Police involved. Over WHB heads. Hasnt this happened before in WHB? Better Police presence is a possible answer. Unfortunately the Mayor and Chief apparently would rather hide in their offices.
By realistic (250), westhampton on Feb 20, 13 8:48 AM
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