Tip of the Week - April 25, 2016 - Would You Know a Credit Card Skimmer if You Saw One

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is alerting citizens to a recent rash of credit card skimmers detected at gas stations in its jurisdiction.  Credit card skimmers are used by identity thieves who are out to steal from your bank account.  Credit card skimmers  can be placed anywhere you swipe your card including gas pumps, ATMs, restaurants and stores.

"Take a moment to inspect the device you are swiping your card through," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman.    "Fiddle with it.  If it doesn't appear to be super secure, or something about it doesn't look legit, don't swipe your card and be sure to alert someone at the business you're at."

Detecting credit card skimmers isn't easy.  If you suspect there's one at the gas pump you're using, inspect other nearby pumps to see if the card readers all  look alike.  Some ATMs display a photo of what their card reader should look like.  Be sure to check it out.  If you have the option to use credit over debit, do so.  This prevents you from having to enter a PIN that can be detected by a card skimmer camera.  And, be sure to keep an eye on your accounts.

   
  
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    Skimming can involve the use of hidden cameras (top) to record customers’ PINs and phony keypads (right) placed over real keypads to record keystrokes.

Skimming can involve the use of hidden cameras (top) to record customers’ PINs and phony keypads (right) placed over real keypads to record keystrokes.