Suspects Indicted in American 1 ATM Fraud Operation

Jackson, MI – In February, American 1 Credit Union reported that a card skimmer was used at one of the credit union’s no-surcharge ATMs to steal the card information of around 600 ATM users. Ongoing investigation uncovered that what was believed to be a single occurrence was actually a widespread ATM fraud operation that impacted more than 10 American 1 ATMs as well as the ATMs of multiple other financial institutions. 

On Tuesday, April 16, three men were indicted on charges in direct connection to the ATM card skimmer operation discovered by American 1 in February. Charges include the use of unauthorized access devices, commonly referred to as skimmers, to unlawfully retrieve card information and aggravated identity theft. The suspects will remain in custody during proceedings. 

“I am proud of the role that the American 1 team played in the apprehension and indictment of the perpetrators,” reported Martha Fuerstenau, President/CEO of American 1 Credit Union. “Our team dedicated countless hours and resources collaborating with law enforcement in hopes that we could help find justice for our members – and we accomplished it.”

Since the initial card skimmer was detected in February, American 1 reports that multiple measures have been implemented to increase member security and minimize risk. Some of those measures include:
Reviewing all ATM locations for enhanced safety and correcting anything deemed as a deficiency.

Giving employees further education and training on what new signs to look for on ATMs that might indicate tampering.

Initiating a new monitoring protocol for after-hours fraudulent activity.

Adjusting the parameters of the real-time fraud alerts sent by their third-party vendor.

Temporarily reducing the daily ATM withdrawal limits on cards that may have been impacted by the skimmers to prevent further losses.

Reissuing over 2,500 member cards that may have been impacted by the ATM skimmers.

Ensuring that every member that had fraudulent withdrawals from the skimmer incidents was made whole.

“It is important for our members to understand that no account level information was compromised by the ATM skimmers – only the card information, which can easily be reissued,” explained American 1’s VP of Marketing & Communications Laura Pryor. “You can also be reassured knowing that any time fraud happens on a member’s account, the credit union is responsible for those losses – not the member. We will always make sure our members are made whole again.”

American 1 shared additional measures that anyone can take to help keep their card information and account safe from potential fraud:

  1. Always cover the PIN pad with your hand when you are entering your PIN. Skimmers will often use corresponding cameras to capture your PIN information.
  2. Regularly check your account to look for unauthorized charges. If you see any, report them to your financial institution immediately.
  3. Learn how to remotely shut off your cards (temporarily or permanently) in your mobile banking app. If you ever lose your card or see unauthorized charges, you will have the power to turn that card off and keep it from being used.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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