WASHINGTON, Utah (ABC4) – Skimming happens when criminals install devices on fuel pumps and ATMs.
“It looks kind of like a computer cable, telephone cable, the machine is opened up and it’s just plugged in there, so the machine doesn’t know something fraudulent is in there, they’re just put in and the credit card information is run through and it’s captured onto a little microchip,” says Sgt. Tyson Dove, a detective for Washington City Police Department.
This allows thieves to gather your credit card information through the magnetic strip and use it at a later date.
“There’s definitely a few things to look for, a lot of those pumps, If you look at where the key goes into the lock if that’s tampered with you’d want to avoid it,” he says.
Police say it happens more than they would like to admit. Just last week, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Las Vegas couple who planted a skimmer at a card reader at a gas pump in Veyo. Back in May, Washington City Police Officers found a total of four skimmers at separate pumps at one station.
“If you look at where you insert the debit card or credit card into, you can wiggle that, if it’s loose, that might be a sign of a credit card skimmer or something that’s going to steal your credit card information,” he says.
According to data from the FBI, it’s estimated skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion every year.
“The best way and the quickest way to see if you have fraudulent activity on your card obviously is to check your bank account, keep track of all your purchases,” says Dove.
Police say you can also pay inside of a gas station, to avoid the possibility of getting skimmed and choose to use pumps closer to security cameras and entryways.