If you’ve ever noticed fraudulent charges on your debit or credit card, chances are you’ve been the victim of credit card skimming.
Whether it’s at the gas pump or ATM, as quickly as you swipe, credit card skimmers are getting your information and your PIN.
Corpus Christi Police Lt. Michael Pena says “You just never know when, or if, you’re going to be a victim. The PIN pad is over here as you swipe, the camera is facing at the PIN pad and as you put your PIN, it’s gathering that information also.”
Just like that, your information has been compromised and hackers can access your money almost instantaneously.
Pena says card skimming has been going on for quite some time, but just as technology is ever-changing so is card skimming.
The latest trend police are seeing is skimmers placed on ATMs inside of stores.
In 2016 there were two known card skimming devices found,
in 2017, 13 were found and another 13 wee found last year. Pena says each skimmer device can get information for several hundred credit cards.
Local law enforcement agencies aren’t the only ones trying to catch card skimmers. Commissioner Sid Miller with the Texas Department of Agriculture is also trying to swipe out the criminals.
Miller says “Look for damage to the cabinet. Most cabinets will have a seal on it, if the seal is broken report that to the store clerk.”
In Texas, TDA Inspectors are required to be on the look out for illegal skimming devices. Commissioner Miller is also taking to social media with a hashtag #WarOnSkimmers and a YouTube video pointing out warning signs.
Commissioner Miller added, “Most of the credit card readers that steal your information, have Bluetooth technology. Just go to your phone, go to settings and hit Bluetooth. If you see a long string of numbers trying to connect or letters, that is probably not good.”
Locally, skimmers have been found all over the Coastal Bend including areas like Portland and Beeville.
Lt. Pena says what makes it hard to track down the identity thieves is a lot of them are from out-of-state or another country.
The best advice is if it looks suspicious use another pump or pay with cash. If you need money from the ATM go inside your bank and visit with a teller. If you’re scammed, it could cost you.
To report a possible skimmer always contact the store clerk and police. You can also contact the Texas Department of Agriculture at http://texasagriculture.gov/Home/ContactUs.aspx