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If You're Heading To An ATM, Watch Out For Cries For Help - And Skimmers

In spite of all of the technological advances that make paying for goods and services a snap, sometimes you need to get your hands on some cool, hard cash. Thankfully, ATM machines are out there in abundance. A swipe and a few clicks, and you’ll have your hands on the good stuff before you know it. However, there are some perils of dealing with ATM machines in the modern world. Here’s two examples - one you would expect, and one that will blow your mind.

First up, ZDnet shares the news that a massive criminal operation has been exposed that focused on skimming customer data and pilfering cash. As in a lot of it. The thieves made off with at least $428,581, but alas, the good times have come to an end. The ring has been exposed, and four members of the cash skimming gang have plead guilty. So how did they manage to pull this off?

“ATM skimming is the use of external modifications to cash dispensers in order to steal customer information, including the theft of card details which can later be used when creating clone cards, allowing others to make unauthorized purchases or to be sold in underground web forums,” ZDnet reports. “Criminals may choose to use card reading devices or pinhole cameras fitted above number pads which are difficult to see but able to record PIN numbers.”

The four individuals are in some serious trouble, as they face a maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars and a whopping $1 million fine. Perhaps they can use their time in the slammer to figure out how to be productive members of society as opposed to stealing for a living.

Next up, customers in Corpus Christi, Texas received quite a fright while visiting a local ATM - but it wasn’t because they were being ripped off. Customers would have some strange notes passed out to them through the receipt slot, and they didn’t know whether to take it seriously or not.

“Please Help. I'm stuck in here, and I don't have my phone. Please call my boss," the notes read.

Thankfully, a customer took the note seriously, as it turned out to be the real deal. So what happened?

“Police say a contractor was working on changing a lock inside a room that connects to the ATM around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon,” KRISTV reports. “Officer Olden says, 'he leaves his phone in his truck, he's installing a new lock on the door, and he gets locked inside the building where the ATM is.'"

Police were on the scene soon after the customer contacted them, and sure enough, there was a guy stuck in there. The poor contractor ended up getting locked inside, and he had no way of getting out.
"We come out here, and sure enough we can hear a little voice coming from the machine. So we are thinking this is a joke. It's got to be a joke," Olden added. "Everyone is okay, but you will never see this in your life, that somebody was stuck in the ATM, it was just crazy."

Needless to say, this pair of incidents should encourage you to be awfully alert next time you need cash in a hurry.

Source: KRISTV, ZDNet
Photo: KRISTV

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