LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — There are a lot of ways to get scammed and one of those ways involves credit card skimming.
Police said they have become aware of a rash of cases in recent weeks.
Card skimming is a method thieves use to get data from your credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe when you swipe it. Thieves do this by adding a skimmer device to the card reader. They can be installed within seconds and are hard to spot.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s financial crimes detectives are investigating reports of multiple points of sale and smart chip skimmers in local retail stores.
The reports of skimming started Feb. 18 and continue.
The skimmers are sleek and able to store hundreds if not, thousands of cards.
“When they obtain the credit card information from these machines a lot of them will use the credit cards here locally or they will sell them abroad. The ones that use them locally will go to gas stations and offer to buy gas for people at discounted prices. If you see that, let us know. It’s not their credit card and they aren’t doing it out of the kindness of their heart,” said Detective Michael Gomez, LVMPD.
Here are some tips to protect yourself.
- Touch the card terminal to see if a part wiggles or appears to be added to it. Often the skimmer is attached with two-sided tape.
- If the keypad numbers are hard to press of feel thick, it could be a false one.
- Police recommend avoiding the strip reader when possible and using tap pay.
- FICO reports 60% of skimming occurs at ATMs in convenience stores, bars, restaurants, grocery stores and check cashing establishments.
- Look for machines that are in public view if you are at a gas station.
- Check your account regularly which will allow you to catch and report a problem quickly.
If you have been scammed, you should contact your bank or financial institution immediately and then contact police. It helps police catch the thieves when they hear from victims.
Tampering with the card terminals is a felony and anyone convicted could face years of prison time.