Police: Pair sought after ATM skimmer found at Jax Beach credit union

Skimmer installed at Community First Credit Union on 3rd Street, police say

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - There's a neighborhood crime alert in Jacksonville Beach, where a skimmer device was placed on an ATM machine, police said.

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department on Friday released surveillance images they said showed a man and woman who are suspected of installing and retrieving a skimmer device from an ATM machine at the Community First Credit Union on Third Street South.

Police said the skimmer device captured people's card information as soon as they swiped their cards and punched in their PINs. Personal information from at least one victim was used at several locations, police said.

Community First Credit Union public relations representative Maria Coppola disputed the information released by police.

According to Coppola, a skimmer was never actually installed on a Community First Credit Union ATM.

"Our ATM was tampered with by the suspected skimming subjects who stuffed our ATM with receipt paper in attempts to disable the machine with the suspected motive of sending customers and our members to nearby Ameris and Jacksonville Federal Credit Union locations where the actual skimming machines were found," Coppola said. 

Coppola said there were some Community First customers who used other ATMs with skimmers that did have their debt cards compromised, she said that those customers affected have been issued refunds and new debit cards.

News4Jax on Friday spoke with several residents who use the credit union's ATM, including one woman who noticed something was different when she tried using it earlier this week.

"It was Sunday night and Monday morning. I was trying to use the ATM, but it wouldn't work. But it didn't give you a message that said, 'Out of order,' or anything," Amy Vickey said. "It just felt like when I put my card in, like, something was stopping it from going all the way in."

Vickey's experience was consistent with Community First's response that the ATM at its beaches location was disabled.

"While these suspects visited our ATM, they did not or were unsuccessful in placing an actual skimmer on our machine," Coppola said. "It’s very important our customers do not think they were skimmed at our location."

She added that accounts of Community First customers affected have already been restored.

"We caught all but two of these fraudulent transactions before they occurred. The two fraudulent transactions have been fully refunded to our members and their ATM/debit cards have been replaced with new cards and card numbers so no more fraud can occur," Coppola said.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith offered three things that people can do so they don't get scammed:

  1. Check the ATM for obvious signs of tampering.
  2. If there are two ATMs next to each other, and one looks different from the other, call for help.
  3. Be sure to cover the keypad when entering the PIN number.

It's unknown how long the skimmer was on the ATM.

Anyone who recognizes the pair seen in the photos is asked to call Detective Cpl. D.E. Watts at 904-247-6341

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