01/25/06 06-009

01/25/06 06-009


January 25, 2006

Subject:     San Francisco Police Alert Public To ATM Scam

San Francisco Police Fraud inspectors are alerting the public to an Automated Teller Machine scam in which illegal devices, which records encoded ATM card information and the user’s Personal Identification Number (PIN), have been attached to a legitimate ATM machine.


On January 9, a citizen alerted San Francisco Police to an outdoor bank ATM machine on Market Street that seemed unusual.  The ATM had a plastic device covering the ATM’s card slot and a small “security” mirror directed toward the keypad that, upon police investigation, actually concealed a camera.  The plastic device, it was then discovered, contained a credit card skimming device that recorded the information encoded on the back of a credit or ATM card. The camera recorded a person entering his or her PIN, thus recording the number.  The unwary victim would receive the amount of cash requested or a deposit would be recorded, that is, the ATM functioned in the normal way.  The suspect would later remove the plastic device and security camera with all the information recorded and begin drawing on accounts using the PINs and other crucial data that had been obtained.  At a later point, the suspect would reattach the devices and begin the process again. To date, only one such rigged ATM has been identified in San Francisco.  Police have discovered, however, other such altered ATMs in other Bay Area cities, and in Sacramento.


The SFPD Fraud Detail reminds ATM users that if any component or attachment on the machine seems unusual they should use another machine, and should report anything unusual to the proprietor of the machine and the police.  Photographs showing the device over the card slot and the “security” mirror are available below.

For more information, please contact:


Inspector Earl Wismer, Lieutenant Kenwade Lee

Fraud Detail




850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103
Tel (415) 553-1651 / Fax (415) 553-9229
email: [email protected]