Bank employees attend annual workshop following increase of skimming devices

UNCASVILLE – Hundreds of people from law enforcement to bank employees showed up for a two day training conference on crime.

The “Spotlight on Fraud,” conference was hosted by the Connecticut chapter for the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators, Thursday and Friday.

The fifth annual event at Mohegan Sun provided attendees with financial crimes training and networking.

FOX61 spoke to experts at the event about the recent spike in skimming devices. This past week, a credit card skimmer was found at a Mobil Mart in Essex. A skimmer was also recently found at the pump in West Hartford.

The money stealing devices have also been found at ATMs in Granby and Willimantic. Manager of Fraud Services at Webster Bank Kevin Thompson said devices have become more prevalent and criminals are getting more tech savvy, collecting information from skimmers using Bluetooth technology.

“They can go drive by and sit in the parking lot, download that information, and then they can re-encode that information onto another piece of plastic where another crew goes and cashes out that info,” he said.

Thompson said credit card fraud, in general, is common so attending this conference is helpful to see how banks can continue work with law enforcement to prevent fraud.

“They go out, they investigate, we monitor the activity real time so if somebody is cashing out cards we will call that local police department, get them out there and hopefully we make an arrest,” he said.

Stamford Police Financial Crimes Unit Investigator Mike Stempien said technology is making it easier for people to commit crimes.

“We have to stay up with all these new advances and kind of stay even with the criminals,” he said.

Stempien’s tips for the public is to cover your pin number when you’re punching it in at the pump. He also recommends tugging the piece where you would insert your card. If a skimmer is manually installed with glue or tape, it could easily be removed.

His number one tip? If you notice unusual activity, contact the bank where the ATM is and police. The conference also covered topics such as human trafficking, identity theft and cyber-crime.

Chris Hansen, Host and Executive Producer for Crime Watch Daily, was a keynote speaker at the event.

The veteran journalist, known for his work on Dateline NBC’s “To Catch A Predator,” started a newly revamped Hansen vs. Predator series on Crime Watch Daily.