Police ask for help to identify 'skimmer'

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Tempe Police Department is asking for the public's help to identify and locate a suspect who placed a skimming device on an ATM last month.

The male suspect visited the U.S. Bank ATM at Tempe Marketplace near Rio Salado Parkway and McClintock Drive several times between 5:05 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on June 5. It appeared the suspect was adjusting the skimming device each time he visited the ATM, according to Tempe police Sgt. Steve Carbajal.

Shortly after it was installed, a customer discovered the skimmer and notified Tempe police. An officer seized and impounded the device.

Carbajal said the ATM was not used while the skimmer was in place.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male in his early 20s with black hair. Police released photos of the suspect on Tuesday.

Anyone with any information regarding the suspect's identity or current whereabouts is encouraged to call the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

"Skimming" is a method by which thieves steal credit card information. Skimming occurs most frequently at retail outlets that process credit card payments, particularly bars, restaurants, gas stations and ATMs.

A credit card is "skimmed" with a small handheld electronic device that scans and stores the card data from the magnetic strip. The information is sold through a contact or on the Internet, at which point counterfeit cards are made. The criminals go on a shopping spree with a copy of the credit or debit card, and cardholders are unaware of the fraud until a statement arrives with purchases they did not make.

How to avoid skimming:

•    Make sure your card stays in sight and never let anyone leave your presence with the card if you can help it.

•    Your credit card is like cash. Treat it accordingly.

•    Monitor credit card receipts and check them carefully against your statements.