ATM Suspect Still at Large, Possible Victim Scammed Out of $18K

ATM Suspect Still at Large, Possible Victim Scammed Out of $18K

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Officials are investigating a credit card scam involving an ATM "skimming device" that Midland Police describe as "high-tech" and "genius."

Detectives discovered the credit card reader Friday at a Frost Bank ATM on N Midland Drive, according to Sgt. Jimmy Young.

"The suspect attached a cover on top of the ATM insert," he explained. "The device reads and stores information from a card's magnetic strips. It can retrieve card numbers and the name of the card holder. Then this is a little camera that was underneath so when the victim is typing in their PIN, this little camera system is capturing it."

Surveillance footage shows a man adhering the cover on the ATM card slot and leaving the bank in a dark green Dodge Caravan.

According to police, the suspect appears to be in his early 20's, between 5' 8" and 5' 11", slim, dark haired and wearing a gray hooded top.

"There's also audio and he's speaking a language that definitely isn't English or Spanish," Young said.

Officials have not positively identified the suspect's race, but told NewsWest 9 he "could be from Russia, Romania [or another location in] Eastern Europe."

"No victims [of this ATM scam] have come forward to us yet," said Young. "If there are any, they need to file a police report immediately."

One man, who believes he and his wife were fraud victims, contacted NewsWest 9 and requested anonymity.

"My wife called me [on Monday morning] and asked if I had spent $2,000 at Toys 'R Us," he said. "She said there was another charge to the card at Hasting's for $6,000."

Both charges were fraudulent. He checked their Frost Bank statement and discovered additional transactions they had not made, totaling more than $18,000.

"Money spent all over the place," he said. "Dillard's, Charlotte Russe, Rue 21. In three hours, from 3 [p.m.] to about 6 [p.m.] on Monday, they had [spent] over $18,000."

However, he did not recall swiping his card at the Frost Bank location on Midland Drive, where the skimming device was found.

"I only went to the one on East Ridge," he told NewsWest 9.

Officials have not reported finding additional skimming devices.

Young recommended contacting bank managers if any part of an ATM machine seemed "loose or wiggly."

Anybody with information about the Frost Bank skimming device suspect is encouraged to contact Midland Crime Stoppers at 432-694-TIPS.