Safe and Sound: Avoiding card skimmers

Safe and Sound: Avoiding card skimmers

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Thieves are getting more sneaky and sophisticated, finding ways to steal your money.

While doing everyday tasks like getting gas or money out of the ATM, a hacker can find a way to steal your information in seconds.

South Georgia investigators said when the card reader on the gas pump looks bigger than usual it could be a skimmer.

A skimmer is a device that captures and stores all the details stored in the card's magnetic stripe.

The criminal can then take the stolen information to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card.

So what can you do? You should check the seal on the pump. If it's broken or messed with at all then you should use a different pump.

Several of these skimmers have been found across south Georgia at different gas stations.

But in some cases, there’s no way to detect this type of device unless you physically open the gas pump.

(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

“A lot of the ones inside the actual gas pump are internal and will read your card so you’re really not going to tell a difference from standing outside," Sergeant Todd Pickelsimer said.

A “shim” is a paper thin device, embedded with a microchip and a flash storage device.

Once you insert your card, the shim copies and saves your payment information.

“Every time they try and figure out a more sophisticated ways to try and get around noticed,” he said.

Sergeant Todd Pickelsimer with Dougherty County Police recommends using a visible pump or go inside the gas station to swipe your card.

“If you see any suspicious activity on your account you need to notify your financial institution immediately and that’s the best way is to just keep an eye on your finances," Sergeant Todd Pickelsimer said.

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