WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) - When Craig Engstrom pulled up to use the a Fifth Third Bank ATM in Wyoming, he didn't notice anything unusual about the machine. But when money went missing from his bank account, he knew he had been ripped off.
He had been the victim of skimming -- a type of theft in which a variety of devices are installed onto ATMs that copy and steal account information and PINs.
Kent County authorities arrested 22-year-old Dontae Collins on Monday, accusing him of skimming more than $100,000 from ATM customers in Wyoming and Grandville.
Engstrom always uses a Fifth Third Bank ATM on 28th Street and Michael Avenue near his house. Last week was no different, he told 24 Hour News 8. He took out cash, thinking nothing of it.
"The weird thing was I didn't do anything I haven't done many, many times," Engstrom said.
But he soon realized something was wrong.
"I call their 1-800 number to balance my checkbook several times a week, and I believe it was Monday morning I called and saw there was an extra withdrawal there," he said. "It was $503."
Engstrom knew he had been robbed. So he called the bank and they confirmed the skimming scam had been happening.
Skimming thieves will install a variety of devices on the ATM itself. One fits over the card slot and reads account information. Another that looks like a keypad overlay and a tiny camera is used to record PINs.
The crooks retrieve their equipment and code information onto the magnetic strips of gift cards. They can use those cards to make withdrawals using the stolen PINs.
Kent County sheriff's deputies arrested Collins when he tried to use several fake cards to withdraw money from an ATM at a Speedway gas station. They're still looking for his partner.
"The bank manager was pretty confident they would catch the people that did this, so I was happy," Engstrom said.
Engstrom said he had to fill out some paperwork, but the bank is in the process of returning his money.
And he said that from now on, he'll protect his PIN.
"I'm going to cover and put my hand over the other hand when I'm pressing the button," he said. "I don't know if that will make a difference, but I'll try it."
Fifth Third officials encourage looking closely at the ATM you're using. If you see any tape or signs of tampering on the machine, don't use it and contact the bank.
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