According to Corpus Christi police, there have been 15 reports of illegal credit card skimmers in the last year, with one as recent as last week.
The Better Business Bureau said the devices are making their rounds in time for end-of-year travel.
Skimmers are illegal card readers that thieves attach to gas pumps to read the data from your credit card's magnetic strip. They often use the stolen data to purchase things online.
Sometimes the skimmers are attached to a store gas pump, leaving it to scan and store data from people's cards. Sometimes the thieves will leave tiny pinhole cameras above the keypad so they can see you type your PIN number. They are also able to add Wi-Fi enabled devices to the pump so they can steal your information remotely.
Corpus Christi police said the 15 reports they have had this year do not represent all of the incidents that have happened, since not every victim files a police report.
So how can you protect yourself? The Better Business Bureau provided the following tips:
- Inspect the card reader - Make sure the gas pump and card reader do not show signs of tampering. Check to see that the gas pump panel is closed, and look for suspiciously placed cameras. If something looks unusual, pay inside or switch pumps.
- Protect your pin - Cover the keypad with your hand while entering your PIN. Try using credit instead of debit, and if you do use debit, run it as credit so you don't have to enter your PIN.
- Monitor your banking statements - Keep an eye on your accounts. Look for suspicious charges and report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it.
If you are the victim of a scam, contact the Corpus Christi Police Department at 361-886-2600 and file a report with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.
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