Police: Check bank accounts; skimmer suspect caught in Columbus

Columbus, Indiana, police officers said Sept. 12, 2017, that the suspects could have gained access to people's bank accounts through a skimmer placed on a MainSource ATM on Washington Street. (WISH-TV Photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Columbus police want you to double-check your bank accounts.

This comes after they busted a man they believe is behind a sophisticated credit card skimming operation.

Officers said the suspects could have gained access to accounts through a skimmer placed on a MainSource Bank ATM in the 800 block of Washington Street. An employee found the skimmer when she was doing a routine check of the ATM on Sunday. She contacted police. After reviewing surveillance video, investigators recognized the suspects from a credit card fraud case they were investigating a week earlier.

“Your information is out there and eventually it’s as if somebody is going to hack it and somebody is going to find it, somebody is going to get a hold of it with the technology we have now,” Columbus resident Ron Laughlin said.

Technology is exactly how police said the criminals gained access to MainSource customers. Police passed along photos. In one, an ATM cover hides the skimming device. The suspects installed a camera, likely to capture the PINs, the acronym for personal identification numbers. When customers swipe their cards, the skimmer records the card information.

One customer came forward to report fraud on their account, but police did not specify an amount. Investigators believe, as more customers check their statements, there could be more victims.

“That is very scary. Very scary. And, of course, you’re probably very unaware of it at the time that that’s happening,” said Columbus resident Amy Rawlings.

Police tracked down the suspect in a Columbus hotel. They said they arrested him, but they’re not sure who he is. They said he had fake IDs on him from various European countries. Police are working with federal authorities to determine who he is.

Between two of the hotel rooms, they found an extensive amount of card skimming equipment and cloned cards. Police believed the MainSource skimmer could be one of many.

Investigators are trying to track down a man and woman they believe are connected. Call Columbus Police Department at 812-376-2600 with information that could help in this investigation.