ATM skimmers found at 3 Loop Walgreens stores

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police have found at least three ATM skimming devices inside Walgreens stores in the Loop.

The devices were found inside Walgreens stores at Madison and Wells streets at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 12, State and Randolph streets at 5 p.m. on Oct. 12 and Monroe and Clark streets at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Experts say skimmers can store up to 10,000 card numbers. Some work with Bluetooth devices to remotely transmit the information.

Police said Friday morning they are investigating and no arrests have been made.

Walgreens said it is cooperating with police and a spokesperson said in a statement, "Any business that offers an ATM as a convenience to their customers could face this issue. The ATMs in our drugstores are owned and operated by a third party and at our request they will immediately begin to inspect all ATMs in our Chicago locations."

A spokesperson with Citibank released a statement saying, "Protecting our customers from fraudulent activity is a critical priority for Citi. Our customers are not liable for any fraud or unauthorized use of their accounts."

Expert William Kresse, "Professor Fraud" at Governor's State University, says there are ways to protect yourself.

"Look for a tightness when you place that card in there that might indicate that a skimmer has been placed on that machine. Don't use it if you have any doubts. There are enough ATMs in this town," he said.

Kresse said if the card is hard to put in the slot, it is a warning sign.

"If the card is hard to put in the slot, there could be a skimmer placed internally or if there is something that looks like it is added on, that's an external skimmer. Again, your best bet is to go to a financial institution, they tend to have the later machines that have got the anti-tampering technology built into them," he said.

Kresse said it is best to avoid standalone ATMs, if at all possible.

Many times, scammers need to physically be there to obtain your pin. Make sure you cover your hand when entering your pin and watch for people looking over your shoulder or even recording you. Also, check the ATM keypad for what is known as a plastic overlay that can also record your pin when you touch the keypad. To be extra safe, you should also change your PIN regularly.
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