Caught on Camera: Crooks install hi-tech 'skimmer' at Publix

New skimmer send debit card information instantly

LAKE MARY, Fla. - Police are on the hunt for a criminal who they say planted the most high-tech "skimmer" device they have ever seen on a local Publix grocery store, and made dozens of people his victims.

The criminal was caught on a security camera using a "skimmer" to steal personal information from an outdoor ATM in front of the Publix located at 825 Rhinehart Road in Lake Mary.

The devices "skim" your personal information as soon as you swipe your card, but the latest device is more dangerous than police have seen before, because it was able to send private debit card information instantly to someone just yards away. Like other skimmers found in recent months, this one had a camera and steals debit card information. But this one wirelessly sent information to the crook's computer waiting nearby.

Police think there could be dozens of victims, and now detectives are working to find all those people because none of them even know they are victims.

Police said the security video shows a man secretly putting a device on the front of the ATM. A man standing directly behind him never noticed the device being planted, and became the first victim, police said.

"I just pay attention to what I'm sticking my car into, "said Wendy Walker, who admits, "I don't know what to look for actually."

It seems from the security footage, several people noticed something was wrong with the ATM but no one reported it. Four hours went by, dozens of victims got ripped off, until finally an alert Publix employee spotted the device.

Police now suggest people only use indoor ATMs and to look for a glitch in the system or for parts that don't seem to fit.

"Jiggle the device that you put your card in. See how tight it is, and if it's loose, that is absoultely something you need to report," said Officer Zach Hudson of the Lake Mary Police Department.

Hudson said customers should always use their hand to cover the keypad to prevent the criminals from getting your pin number through the high-tech camera attached to the device.

Police said Publix knows they've been targeted all across central Florida, partly because the ATMs do not have front-facing security cameras to capture images of the criminal's face. Now, police said stores do regular checks of their ATMs to try to catch the crooks as soon as possible.

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