FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne police have issued a warning to residents to be on the lookout for credit card skimmers.
The warning comes after the FBI launched an investigation after a skimmer was found on a local gas pump, however they aren’t saying where it was.
“Apparently no one knew about this until such a time that the machine went down and those there to repair it identified what was attached to the gas pump,” FWPD Spokesperson Michael Joyner said.
Skimmers are devices that first appeared across the U.S. more than a decade ago. This is how it works – first someone puts the device over the slot where you insert your credit or debit card and then they wait.
“You can still go through with your purchase, but at the same time it’s reading your magnetic strip on your card,” Joyner said.
Thieves also sometimes use another device along with the skimmer that snatches your PIN.
“Typically there is a pinhole camera in the card reader, so that when you punch your pin number in they get that,” Joyner said. “That’s when you become a victim. Without that information it’s impossible to victimize you.”
Police said the people who plant the skimmers aren’t just keeping your information for themselves.
“It basically goes out to the highest bidder,” Joyner said. “Anybody that wants that information can buy it from the person that’s captured this information and they can drain your account in no time.”
But there is something you can do to help protect your personal information. While the devices might be hard to spot at first, a closer look could reveal a skimmer.
“It should be bulky and it should stand out, but if you have any questions just take the card reader and move it. If that face plate comes off or it doesn’t look right. Don’t put your card in,” Joyner said.
You should regularly check your bank statement for any suspicious activity.