The five, ranging in age from 13 to 17 years of age, are being housed at a youth detention center in Lincoln.
Lincoln Police spokeswoman Katie Flood says the teens used devices at a number of ATMs, attempting to capture bank card numbers and PIN information.
Flood says the investigation has revealed this is not just a problem in Lincoln.
“We’re learning that there is a national criminal enterprise comprised mostly of Romanian citizens who came to the U.S. to take part specifically in these crimes,” Flood tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “So, this was not something that was done spontaneously or with little knowledge. These teens knew exactly what they were doing.”
Flood says an employee of Pinnacle Bank became suspicious and contacted police who arrested a 17-year-old driver as well as the four other teens.
Flood says this ATM skimming operation was sophisticated, but there are telltale signs consumers should be alert to.
“The skimmer device may have a different color or appearance. Scratches, marks, or adhesive residue could also be an indicator of tampering,” according to Flood. “In addition, a small camera is usually mounted nearby and by small camera, I mean like a small, tiny pinhole camera. While the device is used to capture bank card information, this camera is directed toward the keypad to capture images as you enter your PIN code.”
Flood suggests holding your hand over the key pad while entering your PIN. If at all suspicious, contact the bank manager.
Police says Pinnacle Bank staff found cameras and skimming devices at ATMs at 14th and N streets, 27th Street and Folkways Boulevard, and 27th Street and Pine Lake Road.
No account information was compromised, according to police.
The arrests have attracted the attention of the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.