Police: Crooks installing ATM skimmers at Publix stores

Know what to look for before falling victim

JACKSONVILLE - ATMs are a quick way to get cash, but they are also an easy way for a crook to steal without people ever knowing.

Police said ATMs at at least four Publix grocery stores across the state have been targeted for skimmers. Surveillance video from stores in South Florida and Central, including Daytona, show people installing the skimmers. The device steals card information the second the person swipes it.

"That sucks, I mean you think you are safe using a well traveled ATM and then you are not," said one Riverside shopper Monday night.

Channel 4's Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson said crooks using skimmers is more common that most people would think.

"You get a large influx of traffic of people coming to use them. So it's easy to target a place like that because there's so much frequency there," said Jefferson

Jefferson said skimmers are also dangerous because they look just like any card reader. ATM users can't tell that it's there, and if they don't know what to look for people can easily fall victim to the skimmer.

"Before you place your card in it, tug on it," said Jefferson. "Most of the skimmers are not tightly secure."

Jefferson also recommends that people contact a store manager if they think the ATM they are using has a skimmer on it. In all of the cases so far in Florida, Publix employees found the skimmers

Police are now working to track down the people who put them on the ATMs.

In a statement to Channel 4's sister station in Miami, a Publix spokeswoman said: "We are choosing to be proactive in combating this issue by working closely with local law enforcement and training managers to check the ATM machines routinely. We train our managers to inspect the ATMs to detect suspicious equipment or add-on devices that may be attached to the ATM or the area around it."

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