Larhonda Johnson crime victim at ATM

6:35 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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By Tracy Clemons

St. Louis (KSDK) - A woman was scammed at an ATM recently, and her bank account was cleaned out before she knew it.

Larhonda Johnson went to the ATM to make a deposit one day last week and walked away without thinking twice.

The next day Johnson got a notification that her account had been wiped clean.

"So I called Bank of America and I'm like 'what's going on' and they said 'you have insufficient funds.' I'm like no I don't...I just deposited a certain amount of money in my account and I know what's in my account."

Johnson owns a beauty salon in East St. Louis but the incident happened in California where she owns another salon.

She says she's the victim of skimming, which the FBI describes as someone putting an electronic device on an ATM and taking information off a bank card's magnetic strip when they use the machine.

Johnson says whoever got her information used her account to buy printers, medical supplies, and several other big ticket items.

"They ordered printers, medical devices, all types of things just to clear my account out," she says.

There is a really easy tip people can use to make sure their cards are not getting skimmed.

Check the card reader before you put your card in to make sure it's not loose, crooked or scratched. If it is, it's possible that it's been compromised, and you should let the bank know.

ATM users should also cover up the keypad when they enter their PIN number, just in case someone has set the machine up to be skimmed.  This reduces the chance that the would-be skimmer gets your PIN.

"Maybe even make a little unusual move like act like you're pushing a 1 and then push your real numbers. So if someone is watching you, you make it more difficult for them to steal your number," says First National Bank of St. Louis President Rick Bagy. 

The FBI has more tips on how to stay safe, and they can be found on their website.



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