Monday, February 19, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Skimming
Thieves are always finding ways to steal credit card information. But now they're swiping information right off the cards. Seven's JP Hervis with how not to be a victim of this high tech crime.
Some handling your credit cards are actually stealing from you -- with one quick and sneaky swipe.
It's called skimming, and all it takes is the wrong person and a little machine like this.
Officer Frank Jackson: "A device that is used to take credit cards numbers, or the information from your credit card or debit card off of your card without you knowing.
Officer Frank Jackson of the Coral Gables Police Department says the machine records all of your bank numbers and personal data from the magnetic strip on the back of your card.
Here, in South Florida, there have been a number of skimming cases at restaurants.
Officer Frank Jackson: "The devices that some of the individuals use to skim are a fraction of this size. And, it's inside their apron. It is something that is extremely difficult for law enforcement to monitor."
Once they have your info they sell it for $25 to $75, that's when you are in real trouble.
Officer Frank Jackson: "They are now re-manufacturing a credit card with a bogus name, with your credit card number, or they are using your credit card information, downloading it and purchasing items at a point of purchase where it doesn't require personal contact."
Don't be a victim.
First, Officer Jackson says make sure you keep an eye on your credit card
Officer Frank Jackson: "If possible, try to keep a visual on that individual. To see where he or she is going with your credit card."
A lot of restaurants keep their registers out of sight.
Make sure whoever carries your card knows they aren't out of your mind.
Officer Frank Jackson: "Make sure you make eye contact. Something as small as eye contact, a little bit of conversation, 'Here is my credit card.'"
Don't be afraid to follow the waiter while they have your card.
Also, put daily spending limits on your card and keep your cash level low.
Officer Frank Jackson: "Keep a low balance in the event your credit card is taken or skimmed. If you have a low balance, there is only a certain amount of money they are going to get away with."
Finally, keep a paper trail.
Officer Frank Jackson: "Get the receipt. Keep that for your records, so you can dispute any charges in the future."
Don't forget skimming can happen anywhere, including ATM machines.
So when it's time to pay, stay alert.