By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The Secret Service is looking for a man who installed skimming devices on ATMs in both Boston’s North End and in Peabody.

It is the latest in a string of skimming scams targeting banking customers from Walpole, to Martha’s Vineyard, to Portsmouth.

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“ATM skimming is about a billion dollar a year business for the bad guys,” says identity theft expert Robert Siciliano of

The scheme uses a skimming device which looks like the card slot on an ATM machine. The thief affixes the device on top of the slot. When the card slides through, the device pulls information from the magnetic strip.

“These skimming devices are getting more sophisticated,” Siciliano says. Some are difficult to see. Customers can protect themselves by investigating before sliding their card.

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“What I recommend people do is when they walk up to an ATM, they kind of fiddle around with the face of the card slot. If they can pull something off obviously it’s a skimming device,” Siciliano explains.

Another key component of the scheme is hidden cameras. They’re often placed in a brochure box or behind a mirror. They point at the keyboard to capture your PIN. Without the PIN, the skimmer cannot withdraw cash.

So, experts say, the easiest way to avoid getting scammed is to use your hand to cover the keyboard when typing in your PIN.

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