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Pelham Residents Fall Victim to Skimming Scam

PELHAM, N.Y. – The Pelham Police Department is working with the Metro Transit Authority police after several Pelham residents were victims of identity theft and grand larceny from a skimming device that had been implanted in the Pelham train station ticket machine.

“They were looking for something else and I’ll be honest with you, I never even thought about a ticket machine at the train station,” said Detective Rick Deere of the suspects moving on from ATM scams. “It was outside the box.”

Deere warned that the suspects have also hit gas stations as well. If caught, they face charges of grand larceny and identity theft, which are both felonies.

The police department is unsure if the suspects are putting a skimmer in addition to a camera on the machines at gas stations, banks and train stations or if they are putting something inside the machines.

“When you put your card in, it goes through the suspect’s card reader first, then into the ATM,” Deere said of the scheme. “They line up perfectly, you enter your pin, once you enter your pin they have a camera somewhere around that watches you enter your pin and they have everything that they need.”

The Pelham Police Department was first alerted to the incidents after five occurred from March 1 to 3. All of the victims used the ticket machine at the Pelham train station on Feb. 29 and lost thousands of dollars in some cases.

The first incident was reported on Mar. 1 while two additional incidents were reported on both the 2 and 3. In four instances, the banks notified the victims of high withdrawal amounts, and a victim asked the bank why her account was frozen in another.

Deere met with several local police departments, the Westchester County police, and the secret service on Tuesday concerning the matter. He said that “with ticket machines and gas stations, it’s a whole new ballgame.” Deere admitted that it will take the Pelham Police Department “a little while to adapt to,” but they are “working on it.”

Deere said to avoid the scam, cover your pin number while entering it because the suspects need that to access your account.

The suspects from this past weekend’s incidents are unknown, but the Pelham Police Department believes they are moving in the right direction.

“I believe that we have a decent grip on it,” Deere said. “We’re really getting an understanding of what they’re doing and hopefully, fairly soon, we can disrupt what they’re doing.”

The suspects removed the skimmer from the machine at the Pelham train station and they have moved on to another train station, Deere said.

If you think you have been a victim of this scam, call the Pelham Police Department at 914-738-2800.

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