Police find skimmer device
One swipe of your debit card can put your money at risk, but Winter Park now has two fewer potential card-skimming culprits to worry about.
Winter Park Police arrested two suspects last Sunday after reportedly finding them with a card-skimming device they allegedly removed from a SunTrust Bank ATM at 295 S. New York Ave. moments earlier.
Surveillance footage allegedly showed Kissimmee resident Dayanaris Melendez Cruz removing the card-skimming device from the ATM and then leaving the scene in a Jeep Cherokee, giving police the lead they needed to find Melendez Cruz’s car on the road shortly after and pull her over.
Riding with Melendez Cruz was Orlando resident Nomar Sanchez Figueroa, who was in possession of cocaine. Police also found the card-skimming device from the surveillance footage.
Both suspects were arrested and have been charged with use of a scanning device or reencoder to defraud and fraud under $20,000. Sanchez Figueroa faces an additional charge of possession of cocaine with intent to sell.
Lt. Pam Marcum of the Winter Park Police Department said that it’s usually difficult to track down those responsible for card skimmers, as many victims don’t realize their cards have been compromised until weeks or months after their information has been stolen. She advised Winter Park residents to always inspect ATMs closely before using them.
“What we suggest to people in general is when you go up to use your ATM card or your debit card somewhere, look at the machine and see if any pieces look loose,” Marcum said. “If anything doesn’t look right, I wouldn’t use that ATM machine.”
In recent years Florida has ranked among the worst states in the country in regards to credit card fraud. A 2015 study by consumer research website valuepenguin.com showed Florida as having the most credit card fraud complaints per capita with 42.54 complaints per 100,000 residents, followed by California with 34.61. The same study claimed that Florida has seen fraud complaints rise by 130 percent since 2011.
That could be due to criminals finding more creative ways to steal your information. Marcum said that some suspects place small cameras above keypads at ATMs to capture someone’s pin number as well.
“If you do decide to use an ATM machine, cup your hands over the keypad when you’re actually putting your code in there,” Marcum said. “That way if they do have a camera on there and they have a skimming device, they can’t get your pin number.”
Gas stations are common targets for card-skimming crooks as well. A statewide investigation of Florida gas stations in 2015 resulted in 103 card skimmers discovered, including one at the Mobil Mart at 203 N. Semoran Blvd.
“A lot of them are actually attaching [skimmers] inside the device and you would have no way of knowing they’re even there,” Marcum said.