Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

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Pittsburgh Legal Newslog: Skimmers and other Consumer Scams

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 20, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle

Skimmers are devices attached to the exterior of an ATM or other machine that permit direct access to a bank account. The skimmer photographs the card number and the user entering a pin. Later, the owner of the skimmer removes it and attempts to drain the bank accounts of the machine users.

Here is an article from the Consumerist containing photographs of these devices. It is reported that one was detected at an ATM in Pittsburgh. They are still fairly rare and many police departments are unsure what to do about them. Tracking down the owner of the skimmer is difficult. Don’t remove it — report it to the bank or police immediately. Removing it under the eye of the ATM camera may cause police to accuse you of being the skimmer’s owner.

Meanwhile, more mundane forms of scamming, including identity theft schemes involving phony credit card interest rate reduction offers, abound, as indicated by the attached newspaper article.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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