Washington Woman Gets Four Years for Identity Theft, Bank Fraud

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The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington recently announced that Ana M. Crisan, 43, has been sentenced to four years in prison, five years of supervised release and $125,241 in restitution for skimming ATM card information and stealing money from 237 customer accounts at banks throughout the Western United States.

"Authorities believe that the woman fraudulently accessed bank accounts for an entire year before being arrested in April 2012," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs. "Interestingly, one of the thief’s victims was U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan. In order to avoid falling victims to such schemes, cardholders are advised to refrain from using ATMs that look suspicious. For instance, if the access door to a lobby ATM is broken, it may mean that the machine has been tampered with."

"Skimmers use several methods to collect information, federal prosecutors said," writes The Seattle Times' Christine Clarridge. "They install tiny devices on ATMs to collect information from bank cards and pinhole cameras to capture personal identification codes. They also can use actual card slots, purchased from teller-machine manufacturers, which have been outfitted with card readers that can download a victim's information through a USB port, prosecutors said. The thieves then forge new cards or download the information onto gift cards and systematically empty the victim's bank account, prosecutors said."