It only takes a few seconds to install a skimming device at a supermarket checkout lane that allows a criminal to suck all the money out of a customer checking account.
Recent video posted by police in Montgomery County shows two men installing an overlay skimmer on an Aldi payment terminal in Lower Pottsgrove Township. One of the men quickly snaps the device into place as the cashier, oblivious to the stealthy action, continues to scan grocery items into a cart.
Before the device was discovered on Jan. 30, "multiple victims had their debit card information compromised," according to police.
An alert sent to other Aldi supermarkets led to the discovery of another a skimmer in Limerick Township. The suspects are believed to be part of a larger "criminal enterprise" operating throughout the region. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 610-495-7909.
According to officials at Homeland Security Investigationss, incidents of credit card and ATM skimming have reached epidemic proportions. Walmart and Safeway reported finding the devices at checkout terminals last year.
Police in Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick Townships advised Aldi customers to review their bank statements.
Homeland Security and Secret Service officials also suggested the following:
Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or tape residue.
When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
If possible, use an ATM at an inside location.
Be wary of ATMs in tourist areas. They are a popular target of skimmers.