New Credit Card Scam Targets ATMs and Gas Stations

By Megan Trent

February 7, 2011 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 5:03 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It's an old trick with a high-tech twist. A new credit card scam is targeting people using ATMs and paying at the gas pump.

It's called skimming, and it's a big problem in Europe and South America. It isn't extremely common here in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio, but it is occurring more frequently.

Sometimes a thief in search of your credit card information will put a device over the card slot without really altering the machine's appearance. You put in your card, unwillingly giving the thief data from your card's magnetic strip.

Many times there is also a small camera hidden on or near the machine that will read your pin number. The criminal might also place a fake keypad on top of the new one to record your pin as you enter it.

Police say there are ways to protect yourself. Keep an eye out for loose card slots or glue residue on the machine. Shield the keypad when entering your pin, and never carry it with you. Also, police suggest checking your accounts every day.

Running your debit card as a credit card can also offer some protection. Detective David Ladig with Fort Wayne Police Department's Financial Crimes Division says, "By federal law, once you notify them (the credit cards company) the largest amount you can lose is $50. So, if you use your debit card as a credit card you enjoy all the protections that a credit card gives you. If you do it as a debit card, you're just stuck with whatever the bank will do for you."

Prevention is key, because it often takes months or even years for someone's credit to recover. However, if you have fallen victim to skimming, inform your bank immediately. Also, file a report with police in your home town as well as the police in the town where the transaction took place. Being prepared with as much information as possible is of great assistance to police when tracking down suspects.

For more information, visit http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx or http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud/internet_fraud

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