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Holidays are approaching and so are the credit card skimmers

skimmer photo.JPEG
Posted at 9:54 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 23:21:12-05

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — The holidays are upon us which means it's a time to keep an eye out for those scams.

A simple swipe of a credit card could cost you more than what you're bargaining for.

With Black Friday shopping around the corner, many will be out and about snagging the best deals, but buyers must beware.

"Obviously the scammers are going to understand that there is going to be a lot more people out shopping when it comes to Black Friday shopping," one person said.

Chief Deputy William Davis says devices called skimmers can be placed on ATM's, at checkout scanners and gas stations. Just recently, they were found at three locations in Harford County.

"At the point of sale, where the actual scanner is, they put imitation scanners on top of the store scanners or the bank scanner, which also reads the card at the same time as the bank does," said Davis.

This takes the information from your card's magnetic strip and sends it back to the thief.

"I hardly ever have cash, I use my card with basically everything that I do and I know I shouldn't but I do. It's so convenient," said George Sanders, a shopper.

Sanders, like many others, prefers card over cash. But he says it can keep him on his toes if he must keep an eye out for someone trying to steal his information.

"I try my best to watch what the cashiers are doing because anyone that is in the lane with me or behind me looking at their phone and stuff, I’m cautious of that as well" said Sanders.

It's not just shopping centers thieves will be targeting this holiday, it’s the travelers as well.

"I just drove in and put the card in like I normally do and didn't think too much about it," said Joe Reagan, a gas station customer.

Paying at the pump is a convenience that can be taken advantage of.

Skimmers can put the device inside the machine, which can often be undetected, leaving thieves to target those who are unaware.

"I’m going to look more carefully than I have, now that I’m aware because I never heard that," said Reagan.

To avoid these tricks, its best to check the card readers thoroughly for anything that is loose, damaged or unusual.

Use credit cards instead of debit cards.

Set alerts on your phone for when your card is used.

And when at gas stations, use pumps that are close to cameras.

If you believe a skimming device is being used, inform the employee of the store and call the police.