Increase in skimming devices reported at local gas pumps and ATMs to prevent identity theft

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Palm Springs police say they have seen an increase in skimming devices at local gas pumps and ATMs.

“Those things are out there. They are active in the area again, ”said Sgt. Mike Casavan, Palm Springs Police Department

The skimming device can read your card as soon as you insert it into the device. Police say the suspect can then access your personal information wirelessly while a hidden camera captures your PIN number as you type it on the keypad.

“We are currently receiving reports from companies and reports from people who have been victims of identity theft,” said Sgt. Casavan.

Authorities say there is a possibility you won’t see anything unusual while using a compromised computer. Some of these skimming devices are virtually invisible from the outside.

“The ones we are currently seeing are hidden in the machine,” he added.

A Palm Canyon mobile station says they are on high alert and often check their pumps internally for suspects.

“We have a company come over every few weeks to make sure something like this doesn’t happen. We want our customers to come back and feel safe here, ”said Albert Castillo, Service Manager, Mobil, Palm Springs.

The police say you may want to change the payment method as a preventive measure.

“One of the safest things you can do is pay with cash. Or if you want to use your card, you can pay at the checkout in the store. We understand that this is not always convenient. We’re just saying if you use your card at the pump or ATM just be careful, ”said Sgt. Casavan.

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, or if you suspect a machine has been compromised with a skimmer, contact the business owner and your local police immediately to file a complaint.

Tips courtesy of Experian.com

  • Pay with cash.
  • Pay where the credit card terminal is less likely to have been tampered with.
  • Use mobile payment options like Google Pay or Apple Pay.
  • Use the chip reader instead of swiping. Shimming is possible this way, but less likely.
  • Use credit instead of direct debit whenever possible. If a thief can steal your debit card information, they will have access to your bank account.
  • Examine the card reader to make sure nothing looks or feels unusual. If something seems wrong, pay inside and report your concern.
  • If possible, only stop at busy, well-lit, and well-maintained gas stations. Look for stickers or other signs that the pumps are being checked regularly.
  • Download the Skimmer Scanner app, which can warn you of a skimmer. The app can warn you via Bluetooth if the pump has been tampered with.

Click here for more information on skimming devices



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