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Contact 6: ATM skimming can lead to identity theft

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. In a single year, between eight to 12 million people could fall victim, and it could happen with the single swipe of a credit card.

"Went to the hotel and were surprised by what we found," U.S. Postal Inspector Dan Taylor said.

Postal inspectors got a tip to search a hotel room after a suspect was arrested with several stolen cars.

"We opened the door. There was a spotting scope with a video camera pointed out the window," Taylor said.

The camera was pointing at a gas station where the suspect in custody had placed a skimming device on a pump.

"He recorded 40 hours worth of transactions and he was also logging PIN numbers as he was watching his victims," Taylor said.

The suspect had all the magnetic strip information on each credit card along with the numbers -- the perfect storm for ID theft.

"Many times what these ID thieves are after is quick cash. With counterfeit credit cards we see a lot of cash advances basically bleed the card for every bit it is worth," Taylor said.

Gas pumps are often a target.

"If you see something on there that doesn`t look right - first of all - don`t use it. Many times the scammers are keeping close surveillance on their skimming device. If law enforcement can be notified maybe we can catch them in the act," Taylor said.

In this case, the suspect was convicted on ID theft charges and is serving prison time -- and it shows you how important it is to protect your credit and banking information.

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