QUEENS — Everyone has used an ATM on a sidewalk or inside a bodega when they need cash in a pinch.
What many may not know is that thieves have increasingly been attaching "skimming" machines to ATMs that read users' card information in order to steal their account information.
FICO reported that the use of ATM skimmers rose 546 percent in 2015 compared to previous years. The report also showed skimmers were in place for a shorter amount of time, making it harder for banks to track and address compromises.
The analytics company found non-bank ATMs were more likely to be tampered with and advised people to exercise caution before dipping their cards.
On Thursday, Maspeth resident Roy Renna discovered a skimming machine on an ATM at the McDonald's at 59-60 55th Road by pulling on the card reader, which detached to reveal the the slick tricks thieves use to mask their crimes.
Credit: BMR Breaking News
"I put my card in the machine, and it said, 'card reader error.' I pulled and it was loose, so I pulled again and it came off," Renna recounted. "I thought, ‘Oh crap I broke it’. When I turned it around, I saw microchips on the inside. That’s when it dawned on me that it was a skimmer."
Renna noticed the pinhole camera in the wall of the ATM keypad after he removed the card skimmer. (Photo credit: Roy Renna)
He also noticed a pinhole camera on the ATM wall (seen in the upper right of the photo above), which he removed as well.
Renna said he remembers tweets and videos the NYPD put out out telling people to pull on the readers before dipping their cards. He told a manager and called police, who showed up later to take the device for investigation.
"It was my first time finding one, but I always try to pull on the card readers. I never thought I’d actually find one. It’s not like I go out looking for them," Renna said.
The NYPD released surveillance images of the two men suspected of installing the device sometime between 9:10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday. They were described as between 20 and 30 years old.
The NYPD recovered 75 skimmers in 2016 and have already recovered 64 this year as of July 23, according to a spokesperson, who also provided the following tips for avoiding getting scammed:
McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COMor texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.