The Cambridge Police Department issued a citizen’s alert last week warning that thieves in the area have used devices called skimmers, which attach to ATMs, to gain access to personal bank account information. According to the alert, thieves gained access to accounts on at least seven occasions between Nov. 2013 and Jan. 2014.
A skimmer is a disguised mechanical device fitted over the card reader of an ATM. When a customer inserts a bank card, the skimmer records the card number as it enters the card reader. Some skimmers also include cameras, which film the machine’s keypad as the customer enters his or her PIN.
Jeremy Warnick, the director of communications and media relations for the department, said that some skimmers were also placed over the outdoor card readers that some banks use to allow customers to enter bank lobbies or ATM foyers after hours.
The department would not specify which banks or ATMs were affected nor did the April 4 citizen's alert.
The police alert stated that thieves used the card numbers they acquired from skimmers around Cambridge to extract “an undisclosed amount of cash from the compromised accounts in New York City.”
Customers who were affected noticed the decrease in money in their accounts and notified the bank, Warnick wrote in an email. Depending on their protection and insurance policies, some banks may reimburse customers for the amount of money stolen from their accounts.
According to the police report, Cambridge police are working to inform local banks and regional bank managers about ATM schemes, and patrol officers are placing special attention on ATMs after bank hours.
Warnick also noted that the CPD is “working with federal agents on an investigation.”
Quad To See ATM Installed in SOCH Next SeptemberThe Quad will likely see an ATM installed at the Student Organization Center at Hilles by next September, the result of a year and a half of advocacy by the Undergraduate Council to improve safety and student life in the Quad.
Separate but not EqualAside from the fastidious timing of schedules to match with shuttle times, Quad residents must spend 10 or so minutes traveling every time they want to go from their Houses to the Square or the Yard.
Police Arrest Robbery SuspectOfficers arrested a suspect early yesterday morning in connection with a series of armed robberies in the Harvard and MIT areas, relying on the joint efforts of seven police departments and the U.S. Secret Service, according to an alert from the Cambridge Police Department.
The Quad ATM Has Arrived
Students Dissatisfied With Official Alerts Throughout Chaotic Night in Cambridge
Too Little, Too LateThis kind of lackadaisical response time poses an unacceptable security threat on an urban college campus, especially in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in the week.