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Skimming scam: Know what to look for at card readers

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With a simple swipe, a piece of plastic can get you everything from groceries, to cash to gas. But it can also give you a big financial headache if you come into contact with a skimming device.

Skimmers are small, hard-to-detect and within seconds they can steal your debit or credit card information. All it takes is a swipe.

Here’s how the device works:

When you slide your card into the skimmer, it records the information on the magnetic strip. A small camera the suspect also installs captures your pin number. Thieves then take the information, download it onto counterfeit credit cards or gift cards and quickly make purchases.

You can protect yourself by looking for anything out of the ordinary at ATM’s, gas pumps and even stamp machines. If the card terminal looks odd, tug on it. If the card reader comes off in your hand, you’ve likely found a skimming device.

Also, experts suggest that you look at the gas pump next to yours to see if the card reader and setup look different. Unless skimmers are running a large operation, they probably are only skimming at one gas pump at a time.

Author: Katie Cribbs
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