“Sometimes they’re visible from the outside”: How to identify skimmers on card readers

State - Regional

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – It’s a little device that fits right on top of a card reader at an ATM machine or a gas station. It’s called a skimmer and it’s stealing your information.

“Sometimes they’re visible from the outside,” Inspector Chip Googe from the Mount Pleasant police said. “Sometimes they’re on the inside of the machine. And what they’ll do, is they’ll pull that credit card or that debit card information off, and they’ll use that either to sell your information or to make purchases.”

Inspector Googe suggests wiggling the card reader as an easy way to protect yourself from falling victim.

“They sometimes use tape or a flimsy glue to hold these things in place,” Inspector Googe said. “They kind of look like the original card reader, but just kind of wiggle it. See if it falls off. Look around the keypad for any signs of glue or tape that may be holding the keypad down as well.”

Inspector Googe said if an ATM or gas pump’s card reader falls off after tugging on it, it’s likely a skimmer. But if you notice after the fact that the card reader might be a skimmer… 

“Call your bank,” Inspector Googe said. “Whoever you use that card with, have them watch for it or cut your card off.”

The next step would be to alert a bank teller or a gas clerk. 

“And then file a report with your local police department, so that we can try and either get the device or try and catch the people who are putting these devices on,” said Inspector Googe. 

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