LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – There are many ways to get scammed and one of them is to skim credit cards.
Police said they have become aware of a surge of cases in recent weeks.
Card skimming is a method used by thieves to obtain data from the magnetic stripe of your credit or debit card when you swipe it. Thieves do this by adding a skimmer device to the card reader. They can be installed in seconds and are difficult to spot.
Financial Crimes Detectives from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department are investigating reports of multiple outlets and smart chip skimmers at local retail stores.
Skimming reports began on February 18 and continue.
Skimmers are sleek and capable of storing hundreds or even thousands of cards.
“When they get the credit card information from these machines, many of them will use the credit cards here locally or sell them abroad. Those who use them locally will go to gas stations and offer buy gasoline for people at discounted prices. If you see this, let us know. It’s not their credit card and they don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts,” Detective Michael said. Gomez, LVMPD.
Here are some tips to protect yourself.
- Touch the terminal on the card to see if a coin is wiggling or appears to have been added to it. Often the skimmer is secured with double sided tape.
- If the numbers on the keypad are hard to press or thick, it may be a fake.
- Police recommend avoiding the tape drive where possible and using tap payment.
- FICO reports that 60% of skimming occurs at ATMs in convenience stores, bars, restaurants, grocery stores and check cashing establishments.
- Look for machines that are in public view if you are at a gas station.
- Check your account regularly so you can catch and report a problem quickly.
If you have been scammed, you should contact your bank or financial institution immediately and then contact the police. This helps the police catch thieves when they hear about the victims.
Tampering with card terminals is a crime and anyone found guilty could face years in prison.