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"Skimming" Device Siphons Debit Card Information
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Identity theft in Connecticut rose in 2009, according to new figures by the Federal Trade Commission.  The state’s Financial Crimes Task Force and local police in Norwalk recently uncovered an identity theft scheme in Fairfield County involving ATM machines. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.

Last week, 29-year old Gina Gheorghe of Romania pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New Haven to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, she and another Romanian citizen admitted to secretly installing so-called “skimming” devices on automated teller machines at several Bank of America branches in Fairfield County.  Nora Dannehy is United States Attorney for Connecticut.

"The devices were able to capture the encoded information on ATM cards. They also put hidden pinhole cameras on the ATM machines which were positioned in a way to be able to take a picture of the personal identification information that a bank customer would enter when using an ATM machine."

The scam was uncovered when bank officials noticed glue on the ATM machines.  Police staked out the banks and arrested Gheorghe and her accomplice as they were removing the skimming devices.  A total of 175 debit cards were jeopardized.  But Bank of America covered the financial losses, so no one lost money. Dannehy credits Norwalk Police Department for their work in solving the case.  .

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.