ASPEN, Colo. - The Secret Service has launched an investigation after a skimming device and a camera were found on a Wells Fargo ATM in Aspen on Monday.
The recovered devices were very discreet and sophisticated, lying nearly flush with the existing ATM, Aspen police said.
"The officers who responded to this call were extremely observant, these were difficult devices to spot," Aspen police Detective Walter Chi said. "There was a skimming device placed over the existing card reader, which records information from the magnetic strip. This piece initially alerted officers that something didn't look right. The responding officers noticed a slight seam running around the outside of the card reader and a shadow behind the plastic that looked inconsistent with the other machine."
A secondary component containing a camera was found attached to the area of the ATM where the money is dispensed. The camera is used to record PINs that customers enter when they slide in their card.
It's not clear how long the skimming device was on the machine.
Anyone who has used their debit card at a Wells Fargo ATM in Aspen are encouraged to monitor their accounts closely. There can be a delay of weeks, sometimes months before fraudulent charges may appear on an account, police said.
If you are concerned about your account, the safest option is to replace your debit card and get a new PIN number. Just changing the PIN number could still allow your card to be used as a credit card, Aspen police said.
Chi estimates that the skimming device could have been installed in as little as one minute.
Aspen police said they've been investigating an influx of fraud cases recently but that led to an ATM where the skimmer was already been removed.
"We got out ahead of this one and prevented a large number of cards from being skimmed during X-Games weekend," Chi said.
The Winter X Games will be held in Aspen from Jan. 23-Jan. 26.
Aspen police have turned the case over to the Secret Service since wire fraud is a federal crime. The Secret Service has a team of highly trained agents who specialize in card skimming technology and a staff with an in-depth understanding of current fraud trends throughout the country.
Aspen police will work with security representatives from Wells Fargo to acquire security footage from the bank. Officers will also continue documenting incoming fraud reports that may be associated with this case and communicate with the Secret Service any information relevant to the case.
If you experience fraudulent charges on your account, please report them to your local law enforcement agency.