TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's happening a lot more often than people are catching it.
Identity thieves are attaching card skimmers to ATMs and gas pumps, stealing the bank account information of every person who visits afterward.
You can check the list of all credit card skimmers found in Arizona HERE.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture offered these tips for protecting yourself.
- Inspect the gas pump before using. Be suspicious if you see anything loose or damaged. If a store has adhesive security stickers make sure they are not voided or appear broken. Wiggle the card reader before putting in your card to verify it is not loose. If you feel something is wrong, notify the attendant and pay inside the store.
- Ask store personal how frequently they check for skimming devices or what measures they have in place to protect your credit card information.
- If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way the PIN is safe and money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
- Use a credit card with a small limit solely for fuel purchases or pay inside rather at the pump.
If you come across a skimmer, you should report it to you bank, the local police department and Arizona Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures Services Division.
You should also keep an eye on you bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity.
Police said pulling on the card reader should be part of every person's banking or gas pumping routine. Before you put in your card, give a good yank on the area immediately around the slot. If there's a skimmer, you should be able to pull it off with just your hand alone, no tools necessary.
If you're still not sure, look around the immediate area for a camera pointing at the key pad. It's going to be small- a lot smaller than a typical surveillance camera- and it might be hidden in a not so obvious spot.
Identity thieves can use your card numbers a lot more effectively if they also have your pin or the zip code you're typing in, so always cover the pad while you're typing, even if no one else appears to be around.
There are as many different types of card skimmers as machines to blend in with, so there's no one thing to look for. Physically pulling on them is the only way to know for sure.