Don’t Be a Victim: ATM & credit card skimmers

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - These days you can't be too careful - and that includes when swiping your credit or debit card.

We've reported on some credit card skimmers being found in our area in the past. You do need to watch out for them - not just ATMs and gas pumps. Surveillance video from a grocery store in Pennsylvania shows a thief getting some cover from his accomplice, and in one smooth move, clicks what is known as an overlay skimmer in place on top of the checkout keypad. When an unsuspecting shopper swipes their card and enters key numbers, the skimmer captures the data, allowing thieves to steal it and make duplicate cards. Police say it's a good idea to pull a little on a card reader before you swipe.

"So where you put your credit card in, if that component is - if the hardware is moving - then that could be an indication that it could be something of foreign nature," one official said.

Gas pumps seem to be a favorite target for these devices. You should make sure the security tape on the card reader is fully intact. Investigators have also found most skimming attacks were at older pumps with vertical card readers, where you insert your card into the side. Newer pumps with horizontal card slots are more secure.

To cut down on your chances of becoming a victim, inspect the reader closely for anything loose, crooked, or damaged. Push or wiggle everything.

Also, 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, and keep an eye on your accounts. Police say the quicker they are alerted, the better chance they have of finding whoever is responsible.

Another suggestion is to use credit cards when paying, which generally offer better fraud protection than debit cards.

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