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Thieves tap local ATMs for customers' bankcard numbers

Medford police are warning people that a group of criminals working along Interstate 5 is capturing bankcard numbers at automated teller machines to make fake debit or credit cards.

Counterfeit cards have been used at ATMs in Medford recently, and police worry that their users could be poised to collect more banking information here, Medford police Sgt. Mark Bell said. Devices to capture card data have been found on eight ATMs in Portland and Renton, Wash., he said.

The criminals cover the security camera at the ATM with tape or deposit envelopes and install a "skimmer" on the card slot, Bell explained. Then, when customers use the ATM, information from their cards is captured on the skimmer, which is later retrieved by the criminals and encoded on new fake cards. Investigators suspect that the criminals could install and remove the device at night without the bank ever noticing.

Investigators ask people to be alert at ATMs. They should notify their bank and police if they see any change in how an ATM looks or works, or if they notice security cameras at the machines covered. Call the Medford police dispatch center at 770-4783.