EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Card skimming has become a major concern for many people.
Officials discussed with 28/22 News the dangers of being scammed by a card skimmer and how detection is the first step in avoiding being scammed.
Gas stations are the number one target of scammers. State police have a few tips on how to spot a card skimmer at a gas station:
- Gas pumps that are farthest from the station and closest to the street are the ones that are most often targeted
- Scammers target gas stations with little to no surveillance
- If something appears to be off with the card reader, compare it to others and see if you notice a difference
- Wiggle the reader to see if it is loose
- Run your fingers across the buttons to feel for cellophane or plastic-like material
This information can also be useful at local grocery stores or corner stores.
It was later reported that card skimming was part of a larger organized crime ring in order to gather customers’ information along with fraud against EBT cards and retail thefts.
During a transaction at Walmart, police say a customer stated while they were trying to complete their transaction they were met with resistance on the card reader. That led to an employee helping the customer only to discover a skimmer was placed on the device.
Around 2015, swiping your card on a card reader came to an end. You have to insert to complete a transaction unless there is a chip malfunction causing you to swipe.
When a card skimmer is used, it forces the consumer to swipe instead of inserting your chip on the card.
However, there have been some cases where the user can even be scammed if they use Google Pay or the Apple Pay feature.
The skimmer was placed on top of the credit/debit card machine. The piece looks like the image pictured below:
If there is an instance that a skimmer is placed on the device, it will appear to be sticking out at an odd angle or covering the arrows on the panel.
If any parts of the card reader can be easily moved around, that often indicates that it has been illegally placed. A tampered-with card reader is often visible to the naked eye.
Officials note there are advanced con artists who have found ways to place internal skimming devices on card readers, so if your card appears to be sticky after inserting it there is a possibility it has been skimmed.