GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn said his department received a concerned phone call from an employee at Hancock Bank Friday morning. The caller said they believed there was a suspicious device in one of the bank's ATM machines.
"Investigators went out there and did confirm they had a skimming device on their ATM machine and were able to take custody of it," Lovvorn said.
The officers then went to all of the other city banks to check for skimming devices, where they found one right across the street from Hancock Bank at a Trustmark Bank ATM. The department is currently working with the Secret Service to investigate the situation, but the information gathered from the devices shows that they were placed at the banks by the same person around 7 a.m. on Friday. Between then and about 9 a.m., when Lovvorn said they were discovered, they had picked up about 30 card swipes.
However, Lovvorn said that he does not believe the suspect was able to use any of the information because of the type of skimming device that was used.
"Everything that was done is kept on a hard drive and it would require you to be in possession of that to download it in order to use it," Lovvorn said. "It doesn't appear to be anything wireless or they would have immediate access to. They would have to come back and retrieve it."
According to Lovvorn, the caller from Hancock Bank was able to spot the skimmer because the bank has someone who is familiar with the machines routinely check on them. However, he said customers should do their best to be cautious in case they are doing business in a place that isn't as diligent.
The most recent cases involving card skimming have been at gas stations and ATM machines. Lovvorn agreed with advice given by the Attorney General's Office for people to use credit cards when buying gas instead of debit cards, because its easier to claim card misuse and be reimbursed.
However, in situations that require a debit card, like using an ATM, Lovvorn said try and make sure the area where you insert your card doesn't have anything unusual looking at the very front end of the reader.
"A little indention where the card can be read, almost immediately where the card goes in…that's usually a skimming device," Lovvorn said.
If you have any information on this case or suspect, please call 334-382-7461.