When people inserted their card and tried to take their cash out, the machine spat out the message "Damage Of Equipment" - the card was stuck, and the crooks had access to the PIN.
Aside from this criminal ingenuity, there have been wide reports of "card skimming" - where criminals videotape customers entering their PINs, or set up systems that allow the information on the card to be duplicated to a replica and used later.
Social workers were stunned to find Cary Dolego, 53, sitting on a city street last Wednesday, behaving strangely and suffering from pneumonia.
Bribes usually don't run up any more than around USD, but sometimes it can be more.
Passionate about engineering, he claims to have designed a "lifesaving" method to keep ships from sinking and aircraft from disintegrating during a crash.
He says he sold his house, truck and motorbike and left for Ukraine to further study the method here.
"He looked bad — his clothes were dirty, he was dirty, he looked like a typical homeless man," said Anastasia Beridze of the Narodna Dopomoha (People's Help) charity.
A woman who acknowledges being Yulia says she had been unaware of Dolego's existence during the Internet fling.
But it's not just ATMs that have been a focus for technologically inclined criminals.