A police sting operation netted a Pittsburg resident investigators say was “surfing” personal identification numbers from unwary victims at the Rossmoor Bank of America branch. Several unsuspecting victims were taken, police say, and they are searching for more.
Police said they targeted the bank and launched their sting there after several reported thefts of monies taken after unwary patrons had critical PIN information “shoulder surfed” by the alleged perpetrator as they were doing their banking.
Investigators detained 32-year-old Ayanna Bastain of Pittsburg after she was positively identified from surveillance photos taken during several previous “should surfing” incidents in Walnut Creek in November and December of last year. Bastain was booked at the Martinez Detention Facility on charges of ID theft and elder abuse, as she allegedly targeted older residents doing their banking at their local ATM.
Bastain is currently being held on $270,000 bail, police said. Anyone with additional information as to her activity or if you feel you have been recently victimized, contact Det. Godinez at 943-5872 or at Godinez@walnutcreekpd.com.
Note From Police: Shoulder Surfing refers to the practice of direct observation techniques to get someone else’s private information. In this case, we are referring to PIN’s while at an ATM. You can protect yourself by always being aware of your surroundings and making sure the ATM has completely logged you out prior to walking away. For more information on the topic, type in “shoulder surfing” using your favorite internet search engine.