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Two skimming devices found at two Joplin ATM's - KOAM TV 7

Two skimming devices found at two Joplin ATM's

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin police are urging everyone to monitor bank transactions, and for banks to monitor ATM's, after two skimming devices are found.  Police say the devices used by criminals can be left anywhere, regardless of security measures.  But local bank officials and police say they've never in recent memory come across the type of case like this.

Take a good look at the ATM pictures included with this story.  Notice anything suspicious?

"No, it looks just like a normal thing you would slide your card into," says Steven Pounds.

"I wouldn't have ever noticed," says Donald Webre.

The red flag is the green skimming device that many people say seems to fit-in with the rest of the ATM until it falls off.  That's just what happened.

"We actually had a customer call that had used the ATM and the device had fallen off of the card reader, had fallen off when he was using it," says Jeannette Clem with Southwest Missouri Bank.

The skimming device stores credit and debit card numbers and criminals later download that information.  Clem says a skimming device was probably on a Southwest Missouri Bank ATM at Stone's Corner only during Sunday morning, affecting less than 25 customers.  

Another skimming device elsewhere may have also been installed Sunday, since a police report was filed on Monday---this skimming device being at the Pinnacle Bank on Rangeline Road, near I-44.

Police believe a suspect or one group of suspects are responsible for both skimming devices, and were well aware of a security camera on each ATM.

"These particular suspects took steps to prevent themselves from being seen on the camera," says Joplin Police Captain Bob Higginbotham.

Police say this is a reminder for people to be careful anywhere you can swipe a card.

"Because I would use it at a gas pump," says Pounds.

"The customer usually has about 30 days after they've received their bank statement to report a transaction that's not theirs, and the bank is the one who is liable for that transaction, in most cases," says Clem.

It's unknown if criminals have the capability to wirelessly transmit data from skimming devices.  Southwest Missouri Bank is sending out a security company to its ATM's for precautionary in-depth searches for anything suspicious.  The bank says they require branches to routinely check their ATM's twice a day for anything suspicious.  

Here is a statement released by U.S. Bank.  Though not involved with this story, we asked for some safety tips:

"ATM skimming can happen to any bank.

We have state-of-the-art fraud monitoring techniques that watch for suspicious activity at all times.

U.S. Bank customers have the benefit of zero liability protection against unauthorized transactions.

Fraud can happen anywhere, any time to anyone.  

Here are some fraud prevention tips for consumers: Watch for anything unusual attached to the ATM card slot, report it to the bank or police. Shield the pin pad when entering PIN number. Monitor your bank account regularly -- easy to do with mobile and internet banking. Set up email and text alerts to help spot unusual transactions. "

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