An image from surveillance video at an ATM in Troy shows a suspect allegedly using information stolen from an ATM in St. Clair Shores to withdraw cash from victims’ bank accounts.

An image from surveillance video at an ATM in Troy shows a suspect allegedly using information stolen from an ATM in St. Clair Shores to withdraw cash from victims’ bank accounts.

Photo provided by St. Clair Shores Police


Police release photo of St. Clair Shores ATM skimming suspect

Officials offer tips to avoid becoming skimming victim

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 26, 2018

 People who used the ATM at Credit Union One, 28201 Harper Ave., may have had their account information stolen by a skimmer.

People who used the ATM at Credit Union One, 28201 Harper Ave., may have had their account information stolen by a skimmer.

Photo by Kristyne Demske

Sixty-five people had money taken from their accounts after a suspected skimming device was placed on an ATM at a credit union in St. Clair Shores.

Bill Roose, of St. Clair Shores, said that he got a call from his financial institution, One Detroit Credit Union, the morning of July 23, asking if he had tried to draw money out of an ATM in Troy the day before or if he had given anyone else access to his account.

The answer to both questions was no.

Then, he said, the credit union told him that they believed someone had fraudulently removed $500 from his account.

“I go in on my online banking and sure, there it is,” he said.

He joined dozens of other victims that day in filling out paperwork for his bank and filing a police report.

“It wasn’t the way I had my day planned,” Roose said. “I always hear about the gas station ones and, quite honestly, I don’t recall ever hearing an ATM version.”

But now, St. Clair Shores Police are investigating unauthorized withdrawals from accounts whose owners used an ATM at Credit Union One, 28201 Harper Ave., in June. They believe a skimming device was placed on the machine to capture users’ data.

“We had a total of 65 Credit Union One members that had fraud on their account,” said Donna Reid, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Credit Union One. “We were processing those credits immediately. By Monday, everyone that we talked to on Saturday had money back in their accounts. By Tuesday evening, all 65 members had money back into the accounts.

“We identified (an additional 55 cards) that had been compromised before fraud had occurred on their account. Those 55 cards, we started shutting those down immediately and calling (customers).”

Detective Sgt. Matt McCallister said that about 16 people have made police reports regarding the accounts, which were compromised between June 20 and 22. Police believe that the suspects were then able to put the information onto fraudulent ATM cards to withdraw money from the accounts at other ATM locations. The amounts taken from the accounts ranged from $300 to $1,000.

McCallister said they have an image of a suspect at a Credit Union One branch in Troy using one of the fraudulent ATM cards to withdraw cash. The image shows the man attempting to cover the ATM’s camera with a glue stick to obscure his image.

Reid said that surveillance video at the Credit Union One in St. Clair Shores showed that the suspect installed a skimming device on the ATM at 10:14 p.m. June 21. She said that the suspect returned the following night at 9:43 p.m. and removed the device.

The skimmer is a device “they put over top of the actual machine so when you go to the ATM, you unknowingly put your card into this skimming device,” Reid said. The device reads and stores the information from the magnetic strip on the card.

“The other thing that they do is, where you’re putting in your PIN number … they will install another piece over top of our unit … with a mini camera on it,” she explained.

The suspect who installed the skimmer likely sold the information to another criminal who put the information on fake ATM cards to withdraw money from the accounts, Reid said.

“The information was skimmed on the 21, 22, and we didn’t see any fraudulent activity on any of our members’ accounts until Saturday, July 21,” she said.

Police said that anyone who used the ATM between June 15 and July 21 should check their accounts.

Anyone who discovers fraudulent activity on their account should make a claim with the credit union and bring their statements to the Police Department to file a police report, as well.

There are steps customers can take to protect themselves, Reid said.

Check the surrounding area when approaching an ATM because sometimes criminals will have a camera nearby to capture PINs. She also recommends grabbing the physical slot where a card should be inserted and trying to wiggle it.

“If there’s any movement in that, it’s a skimming device,” she said. “Check the PIN pad and feel if it appears that anything is laying over it. They can lay an electronic key logger over top of that pad so that eliminates the camera.”

Accounts should always be monitored, Reid said, because it is much more likely that a customer’s information could be compromised at a store or gas station and that activity often goes unnoticed.

“The longer that your card is compromised, then the more crime they’re able to do,” she said. “The criminals come up with new technology. It’s going to take the public being vigilant and keeping their eyes open.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Detective Bureau at (586) 445-5305.