British Columbia

Scammers target Victoria ATMs with card skimmers

Victoria Police say thieves have been targeting privately-owned cash machines in areas of the city that are popular with tourists.

Police issue warning after skimming devices were discovered on three cash machines

Victoria Police found these skimming devices equipped to steal credit and debit card information on privately-owned ATMs in the city. (VicPD)

Victoria police say thieves have been targeting privately-owned cash machines in areas of the city that are popular with tourists.

The force issued the warning Tuesday after the skimming devices were discovered on three ATMs.

"It basically slips right over the legitimate ATM machine reader," said Detective Sgt. Derek Tolmie of the small plastic devices that contain card-skimming technology and cameras to capture people's security PIN codes. 

"Unless you look for certain telltale signs, a lot of people don't realize they are actually putting their card through a skimmer."

The machines that were targeted were all located in private businesses, and the devices were found by the business owners and reported to police, Tolmie said.

The exact locations of the machines have not been disclosed.

ATM machines at banks have been the subject of similar scams in the past, but privately-owned machines may be targeted because they tend to be placed in areas with little to no security, police said.

Anyone who uses a private ATM can test for a skimmer by simply pulling on the plastic casing around the card slot, Tolmie said.  

"If it comes off, you've got a skimmer. These don't come off easily, if it's legitimate," he said.

Victoria Police said card companies have also reported recent losses in Victoria they believe are related to the card skimmers placed on the ATMs.

There have not been any arrests in the case, but Tolmie said the investigation continues.