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Vail Police Warn ATM Users of Suspicious Activity

  • 22 December 2015
Vail Police Warn ATM Users of Suspicious Activity

Vail Police are warning consumers to stay alert for suspicious devices on ATMs after police seized a skimming device from an ATM located inside the Vail Transportation Center, 241 S. Frontage Road. The device was attached directly over the card reader for the machine and was nearly impossible to detect by users.

Skimming devices read the information stored on the card while the card passes through the attached device. The vendor of the ATM machine, Alpine Vending, discovered the device after receiving a complaint from a customer who believed fraudulent activity on a credit card account was related to use of the machine.

The device may have been in place for weeks and was Bluetooth-enabled. Criminal hackers are increasingly using Bluetooth-enabled technology to reduce the time required to retrieve the stolen data. Bluetooth-enabled skimming devices allow thieves to wirelessly retrieve the captured credit card data. Thieves do not have to physically touch the skimmer, they need only return to the Bluetooth range within 30 to 300 feet and download the stolen information.

Skimming devices are often paired with a tiny camera to detect the PIN associated to the card. While no camera was located with the device from the Vail Transportation Center, it is good practice to try to conceal your PIN while you enter it on the keypad. The most effective way to guard against fraud is through close monitoring of your account activity, says Detective Sgt. Annette Dopplick. She encourages customers to take advantage of their institutions’ early-warning alerts and offers the following guidance:

Guidance for Credit Card Skimmer Fraud Awareness

  • When possible, use the same ATM and gas pumps so you become familiar with the appearance of the card reader.
  • Skimmers often disrupt the smooth entry/exit of the card. If the card action seems jerky or uneven, notify the vendor and treat the transaction as suspicious.
  • Inspect the card reader and the area near the PIN pad for any suspicious devices or tampered-with equipment.
  • If using a debit card, attempt to conceal the PIN from visual detection by covering the keypad with your hand as you enter it.
  • Use gas pumps and ATMs that are in plain view of passersby and surveillance cameras.
  • Look at other nearby gas pumps or ATM card readers to see if they match the one you are using.
  • For ATMs, inspect the device - look for uneven colors or loose PIN pads - and tug on card slot before insertion.
  • Avoid gas pumps where the tamper-safe security seal affixed to the pump has been broken.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Vail Police Department at 970-479-2201.


Contact: Detective Sgt. Annette Dopplick, 970-479-2346
Vail Police Department 

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