Richmond PD advises people against using ATMs due to skimmers

RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) — The number of skimmers found at bank ATMs this year in the City of Richmond has more than doubled in less than a month, according to the Richmond Police Department. Crooks are also continuing to follow ATM users and then robbing them after they leave, police said.

Richmond police are advising people to use the tap function at ATMs, if possible, because right now they say that appears to be the safer option. Police say it’s even better to avoid using ATMs altogether and rely on apps to transfer money because criminals are increasingly using skimmers to steal people’s cash.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had seven incidents this year, but we’ve had a total of four skimming devices located just in the last 20 days within our city,” said Richmond PD Sgt. Donald Patchin.

Unlike what the Alameda Police Department reported last week, these skimmers are not being found in retail stores. Rather, they are being reported at traditional bank ATMs and, they are becoming tougher to detect.

“They’re able to actually insert the device in the card reader hole so the same area where you would insert your card,” Patchin said. “It’s a very thin device that’s able to slide into that slot and wedge itself to where doing the traditional methods of detection, such as you know, grabbing the exterior of the device, shaking it around, which is what we recommend doing, it thwarts that — those events. And allows them to capture the data.”

Patchin says thieves are also deploying lookouts at ATMs and then notifying accomplices waiting at stop signs or stoplights nearby with descriptions of people who just withdrew money.

“Our suggestion is for people there is, you know, if you can secure it in your trunk, secure it in your glove box, secure it somewhere out of view so it’s not readily there on the seat next to you on the back seat, because what they’re doing is that they’re watching these people go to the ATM, pull money out and then they’re looking to see where they’re putting it at in their vehicle, and then they’re waiting for them to drive away where your guard’s kind of down,” Patchin said. “You think you’re in the safety and security of your car. You’re sitting innocently at a stop light and then the next thing you know, somebody’s running up, and you know, smashing your window before you even realize what’s happened gone.”

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