• Skimming victims in Corcoran, California, reported suspicious activities in their bank accounts
  • They reportedly include transactions made outside the city
  • Authorities said it's common for such scams to ramp up during the holiday season

Skimming devices have been found in multiple Bank of the West automated teller machines (ATMs) in Corcoran, California. A little more than 30 people have been affected by the scheme, according to authorities.

The individuals victimized by the scam reported unusual activities in their bank accounts, which included transactions geolocated outside the city. Corcoran Police Department Deputy Chief Gary Cramer said he was contacted by people "whose bank accounts did not seem right," ABC News reported.

"We are up to a little over 30 victims who have come forward to report that they've been victimized and their cards are being used outside the city even though they are still in possession of the card," Cramer told the outlet.

An ATM skimming device has the capability to get data from the magnetic strip on a bank card, according to the outlet. The device can also capture a person's PIN as they type it in during a transaction.

Law enforcement officials clarified that it's common for ATM skimming scams to ramp up during the holiday season.

"It can happen to anybody and especially during the holiday," Nancy Guzman, a Corcoran resident, said, as per the outlet.

Cramer warned the public to be vigilant "whether it's a bank, gas station or a store."

"We've seen skimming devices at all of these locations, and so always be aware," he said, adding that at least three such devices have been found in Corcoran ATMs between Oct. 5 and Nov. 2.

According to research conducted by the software company FICO, a "year-over-year increase in compromise events of 759%, up from 548% in the first quarter" was found in the U.S. in the first half of 2022.

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that ATM skimming costs financial institutions in the U.S. $1 billion every year.

Considering the prevalence of such illegal activities, the bureau has listed various ways to curb ATM skimming. They include using debit and credit cards with chip technology and avoiding ATMs with card readers that are "loose, rooked, damaged or scratched."

People can try pulling the machine's card reader so they can check if it's firm and stays intact on the machine, ABC News said, citing experts.

Representation. A 51-year-old man was attacked by a hatchet-wielding assailant while the former was trying to use an ATM. Pixabay