Seven Romanian members of a gang called the Hornea Crew, named after its leaders Constantin Hornea and Ludemis Hornea pleaded guilty recently in Federal Court in Boston to charges related to installing skimmers in ATMs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire New York and South Carolina. Skimmers are small devices installed inside of ATMs and other card reading devices that steal the information from your debit card or credit card when you put it into the ATM. In the case of the Hornea gang, they used that information and stolen PINs to create counterfeit cards which they then used to steal money from their victims’ bank accounts tied to the ATM debit cards.
Always look for signs of tampering on any ATM you use.  If the card inserting mechanism appears loose or in any other way tampered with, don’t use it.   Debit cards, when compromised through a skimmer, put you at risk of having the bank account tied to your card entirely emptied if you do not report the theft promptly and even if you report the theft immediately, they will lose access to your bank account while the matter is investigated by the bank.  Skimmers at ATMs are often coupled with a thin, clear electronic device that goes on top of the keyboard to capture your PIN to enable the identity thief to access to your account.  Debit cards should not be used for purchases at gas pumps or for other retail purchases because the legal liability laws related to stolen debit card information are not as protective as the laws relating to fraudulent credit card use.  A FICO Card Alert Service report noted that 60% ofskimmer attacks were done on private, non-bank ATMS so you may wish to avoid those ATMS when possible.