Police believe they may have uncovered an international ATM “skimming” ring responsible for stealing money from hundreds of local accounts. Izaylo Hristov, 28, of Ontario, Canada, a Bulgarian citizen, was arrested at an ATM in the Boston area along with Viadiclav Vladevo and Anton Venkov. Venkov had $99,100 in $20 bills in his car when he was arrested. One of them had Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards and American Express cards with post-it notes that had “PIN’’ and various numbers written on them. These cards were used to write the stolen data on, and then used to make withdrawals.

It was not too long ago that I bought an ATM north of Boston from a dude named Bob at a bar and rolled it through the streets of Boston nabbing unsuspecting users who entered their debit cards and PINS. I performed this crazy stunt to demonstrate how easy it is and how vulnerable we are. As a writer/blogger/speaker my primary motivation is to educate and inform, so the public and industry doesn’t get scammed.

Apparently a few more than a few people in the Boston area didn’t watch this on Fox Boston, or this on NBC Boston or read this in the Boston Globe. Because many of them got scammed over the course of the past few weeks. I’m trying here people. All you have to do is pay attention.

You can protect yourself from these types of scams first by covering your pin!! Scammers have a difficult time turning your 16 digit account numbers into cash without the PIN. Consider never using a debit card again, since credit cards are safer. When using an ATM, pay close attention to details, and look for anything that seems out of place. If your card gets stuck in the machine or you notice anything odd about the appearance of the machine, such as wires, double sided tape, error messages or the machine seems unusually old and run down, don’t use it. Don’t use just any ATM. Instead, look for ATMs in more secure locations. Ultimately you must pay close attention to your statements. Refute unauthorized transactions within 60 days. Check with your bank to determine what their timeframe is to refute unauthorized withdrawals. In some cases an can be as early as a week.

1. Get a credit freeze. Click on the preceding link and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.

2. Invest in anti-virus and keep it auto-updated and check out my spyware killer IDTheftSecurty HERE

3. Go to my website and get my FREE ebook on how to protect yourself from the bad guy.

4. Invest in identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing the Bulgarian ATM scammer getting busted on Fox Boston

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