Consumers warned to be on lookout for credit card skimmers

Consumers warned to be on lookout for credit card skimmers
Bank skimmer (Source: Macedonia Police)
Bank skimmer (Source: Macedonia Police)
Gas station skimmer. (Source: Macedonia Police)
Gas station skimmer. (Source: Macedonia Police)

MACEDONIA, OH (WOIO) - Here's a consumer alert that will make you change the way you pay for gas.

Police in Macedonia are warning people about the dangers of credit card skimmers and want to show you what actual skimmers look like.

It's not something you think about when you go to pump your gas but police want you to know.

"They're trying to get your data off your card and they'll take it or try to make another card with it," said Officer Richard Rizzo, Macedonia Police Department.

All over northeast Ohio, scammers have been skimming gas pumps readers and ATMs and stealing people's information. Sometimes they'll even attach skimming devices to the card readers that have cameras. Police say it's random and the thieves are quick.

The first picture is what skimming devices that are placed on the inside of a gas pump look like. These are not detectable from the outside of any machine. Officers say, if you can, go inside the gas station and pay that way.

It happened to one woman, an employee here at Cleveland 19, who does not want to be identified on camera. Thieves stole more than a $1,000 from her account.

"My debit card had been skimmed, somewhere at an ATM, they duplicated a card, had our pin number and went through 2 separate transactions in Vermont and Washington DC," she said.

Police are still investigating but say a crime ring from Cuba is responsible for thefts all over the Midwest---they say many victims didn't see this coming.

"They feel violated, vulnerable, they felt they were doing everything right and next thing you know, someone got the info. They didn't go online with it or a shady website with it. They used their card at a gas station and look what happened," said Officer Rizzo.

The second picture is a skimmer that is placed over the card reader of an ATM.

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

Shake the card reader---if it moves, so should you. Go inside and pre-pay.

Look around for suspicious people watching the gas pump or ATM---they may be waiting to get your information.

Look at the card reader for small holes---sometimes those are skimming devices with cameras. 

Try to go the gas pump closest to the cashier. Police says those card readers are the least likely to be tampered with.

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