‘Shoulder Surfer’ Scammers Target Bank of America ATMs in East Bay - NBC Bay Area
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‘Shoulder Surfer’ Scammers Target Bank of America ATMs in East Bay

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    Beware the shoulder surfers' when you’re taking money out of an ATM. Thieves have stolen more than $9,000 at two Bank of America ATM locations in downtown San Leandro since May, often with a scam that involves peering over a customer's shoulder then swooping in to keep using the account when the person walks away, according to police. Michelle Roberts reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015)

    Beware the ‘shoulder surfers’ when you’re taking money out of an ATM.

    Thieves have stolen more than $9,000 at two Bank of America ATM locations in downtown San Leandro since May, often with a scam that involves peering over a customer's shoulder then swooping in to keep using the account when the person walks away, according to police.

    San Leandro police have arrested two people as part of an undercover operation, including a 23-year-old from Oakland. But they believe more “shoulder surfing” scammers are out there.

    “You walk away thinking you’re done and you’re not really done,” Lt. Robert McManus said. “They re-access your account and take cash out.”

    McManus said that BofA ATMs don’t end your transaction when your card is removed like some banks do. If you forget to press cancel or end your transaction, your account will stay open after you walk away. 

    Bank of America wouldn’t comment on the investigation but did issue a statement that said they “take account security very seriously and protect customers against unauthorized transactions on their accounts with our $0 Liability Guarantee covering fraudulent transactions.”

    In the meantime undercover police continue to look for suspects.

    Police say the best way to protect yourself is to make sure your transaction is over and your account closed before you walk away.

    Thieves also sometimes use skimming devices attached to an ATM to get your info so police also recommend that if there’s anything that looks out of the ordinary -- avoid using it.

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