ATM Card Skimmer on H Street?

Photo by PoPville flickr user elliotmitchell

“Dear PoPville,

A few friends of mine who all live on or near H Street have had issues with debit card numbers being stolen recently. The only thing that would make sense is there’s a card skimmer in an ATM or at the Giant we all use. Could you post and see if anyone else who lives near/and uses the Giant at H and 3rd Street NE has had similar issues?”

18 Comment

  • I think this all the time about the CC parking meters. Ugh those things seem like rich targets for skimmers since I doubt they are checked very often.

  • I had this happen to me a few years ago (I wasn’t living in DC at the time, so can’t speak specifically to any issues with the Giant on H St.) but it was a huge pain in the arse. Long story short, I was able to get my bank to refund me all the money that they were able to steal (hit up several ATMs in a very short period; after a couple of hits, my bank flagged my card, so fortunately they weren’t able to totally drain me) but since then, I’ve always been sure to do/not do a few things:

    -ONLY use the ATM at my bank, when possible. Of course this doesn’t totally stop this from happening again, but what got me was one of those random convenient store ATMs.
    -Whenever i use my card anywhere else, I ALWAYS select the Credit option rather than Debit, so I don’t have to enter my PIN. Yes, they can still steal the info from the magnetic strip, but at least they wouldn’t have my pin along with it (at least I don’t think so/this is what I tell myself).

  • I worry a lot more about:
    – A large scale data breach, like Target
    – Restaurants/bars where your card is out of your possession for several minutes (no tech required, and they can get your CVV as well)
    Is there anywhere your group of friends all frequent? That would be my greatest suspicion.

  • brookland_rez

    It’s best to use debit cards only for withdrawing money. Pick your ATMs carefully. Try to use ones that are in a locked area. Never use debit cards for point of sale transactions.

  • Had this happen at the Sun Trust on Dupont Circle a few years back. The hardest part was convincing MPD to take a report. The desk officer was baffled that money had disappeared from my account while I was asleep. I tried to follow up with the Financial Crimes and Fraud unit, they wouldn’t even call me back. The bank was great though.

  • Has anyone notified the bank in question? It looks like the Bank of America on H Street, and I am sure they would be very interested to know this was going on at their branch near such a busy area.

    • I don’t think the picture is supposed to be that of the ATM in question. Pretty sure PoP just thought it was an appropriate picture for the post.

  • Is it just me or do others not **really** care that much.
    I never use debit card unless at a “trusted” ATM and my credit card provider has unreal customer service (just received a new card in the mail actually with a chip feature, unprompted). I monitor my accounts daily and know where I buy things and what I spend.

  • I had my debit card number stolen recently as well. The card had apparently been cloned and was used in Arizona. Thankfully my bank caught it right away. This almost certainly happened in DC, as I have used it very little elsewhere. I’m at the point where I will pay restaurant tabs with cash now, and I check every ATM I use for skimmers.

    • How do you check for skimmers? I’m not even sure what to look for.

      • Planet Money did an article on this:

        There’s a reason that people say to use the same “trusted” ATM all the time – look for ATMs with special police officers monitoring them or that are in high-traffic areas. Take note of what the ATM usually looks like so that you can tell when something is amiss. Is there usually a camera hole facing you? A mirrored panel at the top? Does it take your card for the duration of the transaction or is there a dipper? Thieves will sometimes place a dipper-like cover over the insert-point that will scan the magnetic strip on its way into the ATM.

  • My earlier comment didn’t post, but reading this post today was a definite surprise!
    I have had issues with a debit and credit card recently. I regularly shop at the Giant on 3rd/H and that is the only common denominator with the two cards in question. I’ve followed up with my bank, but am now wary of using cards at the store (if that is indeed the source).

    • Ugh I regularly shop there too and thankfully haven’t had an issue. I generally use the Scan It lane, so I wonder if that makes a difference.

  • Yeah, I’m in the same boat. My debit card number was stolen and used in South Carolina less than two weeks ago. I shop at that Giant, but I haven’t used any ATMs on H Street.

    However, 2 of my coworkers who live in Columbia Heights had their card numbers stolen around the same time, so a restaurant server might be the culprit, rather than the Giant. Or maybe the numbers from the target breach are finally being used.

  • This is the saddest way to find out there’s a BofA ATM at the H St Giant.

  • We also frequent Velvet Lounge often, anyone else go there and have their card numbers stolen?

  • A friend of mine had theirs stolen through an ATM on H St, not at Giant thought. It was a non-bank ATM that is outside in a parking lot. Looks pretty sketchy to begin with.

  • The same thing has happened to both my husband and me in the last month. We shop very frequently at the Giant on H.

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