East Flatbush residents who do their banking at the intersection of Church and Nostrand avenues might be wise to take an occasional glance over their shoulder.
A number of scams have been perpetrated on bank customers in the area, according to the 67th Precinct.
Most recently, said Police Officer Shay Jackson, the precinct’s crime prevention officer, con artists have been telling bank customers that a particular ATM is not working, once the customers have gone as far as accessing their accounts.
“One they put their card in and punch in their number, they run up and say, ‘This ATM doesn’t work. Use the other’” Jackson told members of Community Board 17, gathered in the auditorium at Downstate Medical Center, 395 Lenox Road, for their February meeting.
Then, once the customer has left the bank, Jackson went on, the scammers go over to the ATM that the customer left, and take money out of the account, if the customer has left it open.
“So, if someone tells you that, make sure you press end. Make sure you clear out all your information before you go to another ATM,” Jackson urged.
Don’t be deceived by appearances, she added. “They’re regular people,” Jackson told her listeners. “A male and a female.”
Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues, the precinct’s commanding officer, said in a subsequent interview that the sting was “not a pattern, but it happens periodically.”
And, he added, it’s not the only scheme to defraud bank customers in the area.
Over the past few years, Pegues said, scammers have “glued the button” on the ATM that is used to end the transaction. “So people exiting think they’re closing out their transaction while, in reality, it’s still open,” he stressed. “We made an arrest on this a couple of years ago. It’s a chronic situation.”
In addition, Pegues said, there have been reports of individuals “lurking” in the bank’s lobby area “and copying people’s PIN numbers, and taking money out of their accounts.”
The area is a very busy one, Pegues noted. “It’s the hub of the 67th Precinct, almost the epicenter for the Caribbean community, where everybody goes, so there’s an enormous amount of traffic, but we have cops walking by, seeing if anybody is loitering.”
In addition, he said, the precinct has a good relationship with bank security personnel. About a year and a half ago, Pegues noted, a perpetrator had been “caught in the act” because security personnel had rapidly informed the precinct when something suspicious was noted.