Police warn customers after skimmers found on Columbia ATMs

Photo: WKRN

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – After skimming devices and small cameras were found on multiple ATMs, Columbia police are issuing a warning for all bank customers.

Bank surveillance dating back to February shows a man approaching an ATM at First Farmers and Merchants Bank in Columbia.

The man is seen pulling out a tiny camera and taping it to the ATM to record a person’s pin number. He also inserts a card reader that fits over the card slot and stores financial data.

Surveillance also shows the man using a dummy card to make sure it works before leaving.

Police told News 2 the city of Columbia has found three skimmers this month alone.

Courtesy: Columbia Police Department

Despite the devices, authorities said not a single customer has lost any money. That’s because the bank discovered the skimmers and the devices only store data – it doesn’t transmit it – so the person who placed it would have to physically come back and remove it to obtain the information.

“The bank has been wonderful checking ATMs,” Lt. Joshua Davis with Columbia police said. “Knowing they have these type of issues they have been catching them for us. They are not getting victimized, the actual customers, because we are retrieving this before the bad guys are.”

So far, police have been unable to identify the suspects because the surveillance video is poor quality. It’s dark or shot from the side.

In one instance though, police said a woman’s hand with some very identifiable tattoos can be seen.

“We don’t have good pictures. They clearly know what they are doing. You can tell in the video we have where they are avoiding the cameras,” Davis said.

Police said when using an ATM, it’s important to physically inspect the machine. If something seems wrong or out of place, police advise not to use it and report it to the bank immediately.

Bank officials with First Farmers and Merchants Bank told News 2 employees physically inspect its ATM several times a day to make sure it has not been tampered with.

Anyone with information is urged to call Columbia police at 931-388-2727.