(WMC-TV) - Crooks can charge your credit or debit cards without them ever leaving your side. This form of scamming is called 'skimming'.
Thieves used a card-skimmer to steal Olivia Flowers' credit card number.
"The devices now are really small, they can be held in your hand. And it can be done quite easily," said Paul Krenn, U.S. Postal Inspector.
Flowers discovered her card info was stolen when an auto dealer ran her credit for a possible car purchase.
"He told me that my credit score was really low. And he told me... he actually gave me the printout," said Flowers.
Postal inspectors warn the most common places for card-skimming are restaurants and gas stations.
In Puerto Rico, inspectors seized weapons and big-ticket items.
"There were $90,000 worth of postal money orders, which were purchased using the fraudulent debit cards," said Krenn.
Here are some tips to guard against card-skimming:
- Always check your receipts after each purchase.
- Check your card statement online or at the end of the billing cycle.
- Catch any unusual charges, alert your bank or credit card company as soon as you notice something concerning.
- Also, never use your debit card at a restaurant or at a gas pump. Use cash or a credit card. Your credit card comes with built-in protections that allow you to dispute almost any charge.