CHARLOTTE, NC - Skimming is when criminals hide electronic devices on ATMs and gas pumps to steal customers’ credit or debit card information.
Older skimmers were big and green, which fit over card readers.
Now, criminals are using two new kinds. The Better Business Bureau was the first to bring this to WSB-TV's sister station Charlotte, North Carolina, WSOC-TV.
"Once you have that number and that PIN, it's game on," BBB President Tom Bartholomy said. "The cases can rack up pretty quickly."
U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Matt Hayes told WSOC-TV there have been 10 cases in the Charlotte area since last December.
There were three last month in Charlotte, Concord and Mint Hill.
The first kind of new skimmer is called a shimmer, which goes on the outside of the card reader, such as the older kind. The shimmer is much smaller and blends in better.
A tiny arm scans the card when people use it.
"That metal connection steals and stores all of the magnetic strip data into this box here," Hayes said.
The other device is called a deep-insert skimmer.
The thief takes a very thin piece of metal with electronics hot-glued on top and inserts it into the card reader. There's still room for a card to fit in it.
Trace Gouws said someone stole her daughter's credit card information a few months ago. She said investigators believe it was a skimming device at a gas station but it is unclear what kind of skimmer was used.
"Everybody's card sooner or later is getting hacked," she told WSOC-TV. "I know that sooner or later everything gets hacked."
Here is what to look for:
- If it's a shimmer, look closely because you may be able to spot it.
- If it's a deep-insert skimmer, it may be just tight enough, and you have to tug to get your card out.
- As always, keep an eye on your accounts. Report anything suspicious right away so investigators can look for similar cases.
- If you have a choice, use ATMs inside buildings instead of the stand-alone kind and pay for your gas inside.
- If you have a choice, use contactless payment methods.
- The BBB said to try using tap-and-go features on your credit card instead of swiping or inserting your card.
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