August 21, 2019
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Money stolen from dozens of Downeast FCU member accounts

BELFAST, Maine — More than 25 Downeast Federal Credit Union members appear to have their accounts accessed after an ATM skimmer was found at a local branch, a Belfast Police Department official said Sunday.

Sgt. Dan Fitzgerald said that the number of affected members likely will end up being higher.

“We are still being inundated with calls from the community, making us aware of more people being affected by this,” Fitzgerald said.

The amounts of money that credit union customers reported missing has varied.

“It kind of fluctuates. It’s not really a set amount,” Fitzgerald said. “It looks like someone was going for $200 here, $200 there. We’ve had reports of as low as $87 to as much as having their whole account being drained out.

“We can’t even estimate [the combined loss] at this point. It’s probably upwards of $10,000 at the moment,” he said.

Fitzgerald said that credit union members started alerting Belfast police around 3:15 p.m. Saturday that money was missing from their accounts after a skimmer was found at the ATM at the credit union’s Lincolnville Avenue branch.

Fitzgerald said it’s troubling that withdrawals have been made as far away as New York.

Fitzgerald said the problem is not limited to people using the Belfast credit union branch.

Fitzgerald said that a Downeast FCU member who had used a card at a Bangor Saving Bank ATM in neighboring Searsport and learned Sunday morning that about $909 had been withdrawn.

“There’ve been withdrawals from as far away as New York so far, so possibly internal information [from the credit union] has gotten out,” he said.

“It seems like a lot of charges are coming from New York. It doesn’t seem like [whoever is behind the scam] is going down to EBS [Building Supplies] or ReStore or Reny’s or places locally,” he said. “It seems like an out of state thing at the moment.

“That could mean one of two things, I guess. Either the internal security has been compromised [at Downeast FCU] or there’s a possibility that multiple skimmers have been put in place and removed because I can assure you that the Belfast Police Department has has gone around to all of our ATMs and checked them thoroughly and there’s definitely no skimmers attached,” he said.

Fitzgerald said the skimmer at Downeast FCU is the second found in Belfast.

The first was found in December at Bangor Savings Bank branch on Route 3.

“At this point, I would say no one is safe and that everyone should be checking their accounts diligently and getting in touch with the bank at their earliest convenience.”

Fitzgerald said that he and a detective will be at the credit union on Monday to meet with the credit union’s security team and to review surveillance system footage to look for any footage of someone tampering with the ATM.

The credit union customers who believe they may have been affected by the problem or who have questions or concerns should call a special hotline the credit union has set up through 4 p.m. Sunday. The telephone number is 1(800) 427-1223.



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