GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police in suburban Atlanta issued a warning to ATM users that a serial thief is stealing from unwitting victims who hurriedly walk away from ATMs, leaving their account still open on the screen.
“What they’re doing is walking away from the transaction before canceling the prompt,” says Lilburn Police Lt. Chris Dusik. He told Fox 5 the thief has made off with serious cash in approximately a dozen such thefts at ATMs across Gwinnett County.
According to the officer, so far all of the thefts have happened at Bank of America ATMs.
Dusik says this is what is happening: Bank of America ATMs show, after a transaction, the question, “Would you like another transaction?” The customer is supposed to press “Yes” or “No.” But what happens too often is the customers as these ATMs walk away without pressing “yes” or “no” or pressing some other prompt such as “cancel” in order to clear the screen, even though they have removed their debit card. Therefore their account remains open for a few seconds, just enough time for the savvy thief to make his move.
The officer said the thief gets close enough behind the ATM user to see them pressing their PIN number. This thief remembers the number and then quickly re-enters the PIN number before the computer resets back to the welcome screen as the customer walks away.
The media tried to speak with Bank of America executives about this, to no avail, but but the bank’s website warns customers to always conceal their PIN number at the ATM.