Don't be a victim of a skimmer

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Police believe the discovery of skimmer at a pump at a Citgo gas station on Habersham Street this month is an isolated incident, but it's not the first time that these devices have been used to rip people off in our area at gas stations and ATM's.

Police say always inspect the machine before inserting your card.

"When you are paying at the pump make sure there is nothing suspicious on the pump.  Make sure there is no broken tape. Make sure the door is not open in any way when you are paying for the transaction," says SCMPD Detective Meghan Whitfield.

Unfortunately, these skimming devices can be very difficult to detect though once installed—and often look identical to the normal card reader. When removed and flipped over, you can see the white adhesive tape and skimming hardware used to capture information from the magnetic strip of unsuspecting victim's card.  Sometimes a small camera is even hidden around the cash dispenser to capture PIN numbers.

Here's how you can cut down on your chances of becoming a victim:

  • Inspect the machine closely for anything loose, crooked, or damaged.  Push or wiggle everything.
  • Limit the number of ATMs you use—and try to use an inside location if possible.
  • Avoid using your pin number at the gas pump.
  • Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas.
  • Keep an eye on your accounts.

"We want people to just recognize and make sure they are paying attention to their statements, so they notice any kind of charges that shouldn't be happening," said Detective Whitfield.

Police say the quicker they are alerted, the better chance of finding whoever is responsible.

Another important piece of advice is to always cover your hand when you enter your pin.  Even if you don't notice the skimmer and swipe your card-- that can help keep your information safe.

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