Aspen police say they found a card skimmer at the ATM at Aspen’s Wells Fargo bank on Monday night.
Police learned about the skimmer after they were dispatched to the Wells Fargo branch for a heat-sensor alarm.
“After surveying the ATM, officers discovered a card skimmer and small camera attached to the external portion of the ATM,” a statement issued Monday night said. “The skimmer may have triggered the heat sensor alarm.”
Police said they didn’t know how long the skimmer was in place and that an investigation will continue with assistance from a Wells Fargo security representative and the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for investigating wire fraud, a federal crime.
Security footage also will be reviewed in an effort to determine how long the skimmer was used and to identify potential suspects, police said.
Skimmers are used to gather an account holder’s information, which includes personal identification numbers.
Police are encouraging residents to monitor their Wells Fargo accounts.
“There can be a delay of weeks, sometimes months before fraudulent charges may appear on an account, making it difficult to pinpoint where a card may have been compromised,” a police statement said.
In recent years, Aspen police have obtained evidence indicating that skimmers were used to commit fraud at local places of business. Monday marked the first time in which authorities were able to retrieve the physical device, police said.
“We got out ahead of this one and prevented a large number of cards from being skimmed during (Winter X Games) weekend,” Detective Walter Chi said in a statement.
“The officers who responded to this call were extremely observant. These were difficult devices to spot.”
Chi estimated that a skimmer like the one found Monday could have been installed in as little as one minute.