San Leandro police warn customers of ATM 'shoulder surfing'

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San Leandro police arrested two men accused of taking advantage of customers who forget to exit completely after an ATM transaction. (KGO-TV)

San Leandro police are warning ATM users about an easy way people can fall victim to thieves.

This warning comes after they arrested two men for taking advantage of bank customers who forget to exit completely after using an ATM machine.

News of shoulder surfing happening to Bank of America customers in San Leandro has many of them feeling vulnerable. "Lately I have seen people using it and they're also kind of afraid, you know looking everywhere. I didn't know about this, but it's something to be aware of," Jose Mejia said.

San Leandro police said there have been five incidents of shoulder surfing reported since May. Four of those incidents occurred at a Bank of America on 14th Street in San Leandro.

Shoulder surfing is when someone looks over your shoulder to read your pin number and then uses it to access your account.

Another new twist to this crime is when people leave the ATM machine without finishing a transaction. Some people walk away leaving the transaction open and the criminal then swoops in and keeps the transaction going. Some customers admit they've made that mistake. "When you are in a hurry and just leave, they can go in and use the ATM on you, yeah that's good to know, I didn't know about this. I mean it's kind of scary," Mejia said.

San Leandro police set up surveillance cameras, which helped them make two arrests. Investigators believe Blade Kittrell, 33, of Oakland was shoulder surfing. They also arrested Tremell Watts, 42, of Oakland and believe he stole from an ATM machine, but it's unclear whether he shoulder surfed or used other people's credit cards.

Police said it's important to be aware of surroundings and to close out of transactions by answering that last question. They also suggest signing up for text alerts from your bank for when there is a transaction on your account.

You could also do what Eloy Martinez does. "I just always go inside and deal with the teller that way I know what my balance is and I know what I took out and I know what I got in there and I don't have to worry about somebody doing that," he said.

If something like this happens to you report it to your bank.

Bank of America said it has a guarantee in place that offers customers zero liability for loss.

Police are asking anyone who falls victim to this crime, to call them so they can investigate and put a stop to this.

Related Topics:
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