Residents are being urged to check their bank accounts as Connecticut is being hit by a wave of identity theft.
Numerous people are complaining about losing money because of skimmers. They are electronic devices capable of stealing bank information and with travel season underway, state officials say thieves could be taking aim at your wallet.
Lauri Sirois and her husband had been away from their Colchester home for two weeks in mid-June.
A few days after they came back, she noticed some strange charges on their debit account.
“I noticed there were three withdrawals that completely wiped out our account,” Sirois said.
She says over $500 was stolen from her account. She believes it happened at an ATM at local Cumberland Farms in Portland, which is the same place some others have complained of seeing fraudulent charges on their accounts.
An employee at the Cumberland Farms said there was an issue with a skimmer within the last two months, but said it has since been resolved.
A spokesperson with the state’s Department of Consumer Protection said now is a prime time for thieves to steal from unsuspecting vacationers.
To avoid being ripped off by a skimmer either an ATM or gas pump, its experts suggest:
“Just to go online and just educate you about what the skimmers look like,” Sirois said.
She added that she noticed the fraudulent charges within a few days, and her bank, Liberty Bank, has assured her she’ll get the money back, but she says a friend recently said the same thing happened to them.
She doesn’t want to see it happen to anyone else.
“I think it’s really important to keep an eye on your account,” Sirois said.
A spokesperson for Cumberland Farms said they were "very concerned about an alleged skimming device recently found on the ATM in Portland."
"We are taking this matter very seriously and are working closely with the third party supplier that owns and operates the ATM. In addition to the measures taken by the Company to monitor for these types of devices, we encourage our customers to notify a Team Member immediately if they have any concerns when using an ATM at one of our stores," Liz White, who is the director of Public Relations for Cumberland Farms, said in a statement on Thursday.
If you notice any issues with skimmers, you’re asked to contact consumer protection and law enforcement.
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