After removing a device that steals ATM card information from a cash machine in the lobby of the Inova Fairfax Hospital Cardiac Care Center, police believe victims don't know they've been robbed.
The hospital center reported what is known as a skimming device, which attaches externally over a card acceptance slot, to police on Wednesday.
"A customer saw the device and pulled it off," said Fairfax County police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.
The department has been tracking a recent uptick in ATM card fraud and they believe the device was in place since late August.
Detectives are investigating four cases of fraud linked to the cardiac care center ATM, but believe others haven't yet been reported.
"We felt it was very important to notify the public even though an arrest hasn't been made," Ms. Caldwell said. "When you stop to think about it, those people using that unit in a hospital have so much on their mind. Either they're sick or a loved one is sick or they work there. They could be so busy they haven't been checking their bank statement thoroughly."
ATM skimming devices read and store information as bank cards are entered into the machine. Ms. Caldwell said that this is not a new crime, but police are seeing it more often.
"The majority of these attacks also involve some kind of hidden camera to obtain the PIN number," said Brian Krebs, who blogs about cyber crime. "An easy way to protect yourself in many cases is to cover the PIN pad with your hand when entering your PIN. And don't be afraid to make sure people aren't watching over your shoulder. It's very common for people to be within seeing distance of the ATM [where they've installed a device]. If you do see one, the best thing to do is to leave it there and notify the police."
No arrests have been made in the case. The department encourages anyone who used this machine to check bank statements and contact their bank and police at 703-691-2131 if there is a discrepancy.
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