RIVER FOREST, Ill. (STMW) — Detectives have one man in custody and are seeking a second man in what they’re calling “a very sophisticated” high tech scam to steal information from debit cards used at the ATM outside the Community Bank’s River Forest branch at 7777 Lake St.
Stefan-Lorin Barbut, 31, Arlington Heights, a Romanian national, was charged with felony identity theft and felony possession of a scanning device. He was released after posting 10 percent of a $20,000 bond, and has a July 11 court date.
Bank officials became aware of the scam after a concerned customer came in and complained of difficulty sliding the card in and out. The fraudulent card reader used in this case was, like most such devices, attached to the outside of the genuine ATM card reader, and as a result made it more difficult to slide the card in and pull it out.
Police were notified and officials removed the skimmer device and a pin-hole camera attached above the ATM keyboard.
“Security camera footage from the targeted ATM machine provided investigators with high quality footage of the offenders,” Deputy Chief James O’Shea said Friday. Police then reattached the camera and the skimmer and took up posts nearby waiting for the thieves to return.
Barbut allegedly returned to the ATM at 7:45 p.m. July 1. O’Shea said officers recognized Barbut from the ATM security video.
“After Barbut adjusted the illegal camera and skimmer he was taken into custody,” said O’Shea.
The investigation revealed 59 transactions that were recorded by the illegal camera and skimmer. O’Shea said Community Bank is “making appropriate notifications to any affected customers.”
Individuals who are not customers of Community Bank of Oak Park and River Forest but who used the ATM at 7777 Lake St. between June 24, 2013 and July 1, 2013 can contact River Forest police for details at 708-366-7125.
The ATM skimming scam is perpetrated by attaching a second card reader around the legitimate reader. A pin-hole camera is then attached above the keyboard, recording the PIN typed in.
In the River Forest case, the camera and card reader were both removed at night and the collected card data and video downloaded. The skimming technology was recharged and re-attached the following morning.
Detective Sgt. Marty Grill, who oversaw the investigation, said other more sophisticated skimming technology allows thieves to download the data and video remotely.
“I always tug on the card reader,” said Grill. “If it’s fake, it’ll pull off.”
Another less obvious clue is a long, thin (1/4 inch) metal strip placed above the keypad. It’s attached via an adhesive, onto the surface directly above the keypad.
That device also was used in the case of the Community Bank ATM, where it was fastened over an existing light board.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)