NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — We haven’t seen it here in central New York, but if you’re traveling, you’ll want to pay attention to the urgent warning New York City Police just sent out about thefts at ATMs, they’re called “Distraction scams.”
A Distraction Scam is when thieves draw a person’s attention away from the ATM to steal cash or their bank card.
This surveillance footage shows the alleged criminals in action at an ATM.
A suspect to the side of the person using the ATM will drop money on the ground, tapping the targeted customer to get his attention. Then, as soon as the ATM customer turns, there is a second suspect who would quickly step over, pulling the victim’s bank card out of the ATM and, according to police, replace it with a dummy card.
The second suspect will step back to his own ATM and would walk away with the victim unaware anything happened.
This exact situation has happened, and police say those suspects later withdrew thousands from that man’s account.
“This is a nationwide crime trend and it looks to us like the perpetrators are coming from out of the state and in most cases out of the country and coming here traveling here with the specific intention of finding victims,” said Lieutenant Timothy Rogers from the NYPD.
In Central New York, scammers are still successfully hacking computers with claims child pornography was installed, extorting money with threats of arrest.
It happened to a Manlius woman, with the scammers sending someone to her home to collect. She couldn’t wire the money the suspects were asking for, so they took her cash.
“So the vehicle arrives, she described it as a Red SUV with out-of-state Alabama license plates, but no letters or numbers, we didn’t get any of that information. The driver was wearing a mask so he couldn’t be identified. Then she remained on the phone with this person that she had been talking to the entire time and said just put it in the back seat and close the door, so then the vehicle left,” said Sergeant Ken Hatter, from the Manlius Police Department.
Even though bank tellers warned she was getting scammed, her fear of getting arrested convinced her otherwise.
Although no one was hurt, she’s now out $35,000 dollars.
Safeguarding your computer
Sergeant Hatter says if you get a pop-up window on your computer. Don’t call the number. Never give strangers remote access to your computer. If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up.