Local Woman May Be Victim of "Skimming" - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/05

Local Woman May Be Victim of "Skimming"

Navarro goes over her bank statement. Navarro goes over her bank statement.

How can one person be in two places at the same time? That's what one Savannah woman is trying to figure out after she discovered someone used her ATM card thousands of miles away while that card was still in her wallet.

No one is quite sure yet how this happened, but a popular scam may have found its way to the Coastal Empire.

Next time you go to the ATM, be careful. Someone may be stealing your hard-earned money from right under your nose. And the worst part? Your card may have never left your sight.

"It's a scary thing," said Hope Navarro of Savannah after it happened to her. "I felt violated, sick to my stomach. I didn't know what to do."

On Sunday, she was checking her Bank of America account online when "my heart skips a beat, there are two charges from Las Vegas."

The charges totaled $1,200. "Then I knew someone had gotten a hold of my card as well as my PIN number."

But how is that possible since Navarro never lost her card? Could it be because of what's called a skimming device? That's a device that goes right into the ATM slot and reads all the account information on your magnetic strip, possibly recording your PIN.

There are numerous reports around the country of this very thing happening.

"That does make sense to me," said Navarro.

She filed a complaint with local police, and as they go through all the charges someone made half way across the country, she still can't believe with all the high-tech safeguards out there, someone was actually able to clean her out of cash.

"This sickness I felt in my stomach is like someone coming to my house and stealing something," she said.

Bank of America did refund all of Navarro's money. We talked with with local Bank of America officials who told us they have had a couple of reports of this happening to some of their customers. They say they are working with the FBI to get to the bottom of this.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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