A Virginia bank quickly shut off the ability of many of its customers to withdraw money from ATM machines after skimming devices were found in some ATMs and at local gas stations, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Union First Market Bank said it "restricted access to an intentionally broad audience" of its 200,000 debit-card users -- without first informing account holders -- in order to stop the unauthorized activity as quickly as possible. All the bank's ATMs have been examined to remove skimmers and cameras used to capture PINs, and the bank is working with the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, which are investigating the incident.
The bank now estimates that the number of cards affected is more than 3,000, those that experienced fraudulent activity and those that haven't seen fraud but were used at the compromised ATMs. Union First is progressively restoring ATM access to unaffected customers, the bank said in a Dec. 17 update on its website. Customers with compromised accounts are being contacted individually and will receive new cards.
Those customers whose cards still don't have ATM access must go inside a bank branch for banking functions, including withdrawals. The bank acknowledged "the tremendous inconvenience this has caused, especially during the holiday season."
Union First also said it believes it was not singled out with the skimmers and that other banks were also affected. "A number of other banks have been hit," said bank spokesman Bill Cimino. "We are the only ones telling our customers."