ATM skimming sentenced

Szebeni pled guilty to bank fraud in August in a New York court. During the last two weeks in March, he used a skimming device to capture the credit card details of Citizens Bank customers. He then cloned the cards using a counterfeiting device and used it to steal funds from their accounts.

26 customers' accounts were pilfered on March 21 and 22 at various ATM locations throughout the western district of New York using the skimming device, which is a piece of hardware secretly attached to an ATM machine that reads the magnetic strip on a bank card. But Szebeni was under investigation by the US Secret Service, and was arrested on charges of bank fraud at the Rainbow Bridge Port of Entry by special agents.

The fraudster got off relatively lightly with the jail time and a five-year supervised release. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 30 years and a million dollar fine.

Bank fraud via ATM skimming is a particular problem in the US rather than in Canada or Europe because the chip and pin systems designed to prevent it have not been implemented in the US.

Just last week, police warned customers of a Bank of America branch in Eldersburg, Maryland that they may have been the victims of ATM-based bank fraud using of a skimming device. Up to 100 cards may have been compromised by the skimming device, according to police, who believe that the fraudsters may have placed similar skimming devices on other ATM machines throughout Maryland and Virginia.

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