Credit card skimming increased 546 percent last year

Credit card skimming increased 546 percent last year
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Every day, more credit card skimmers are out for your card number.

Authorities are finding more credit card skimmers installed on places where you swipe your plastic--like gas pumps, ATMs, and self-checkout lanes.

A popular Youtube video shows how quick and easy it is for crooks to install a skimmer on a gas station credit card reader. It takes the crook less than three seconds to subtly install the skimmer.

The 'Skim Scam' is quick, profitable, and on the rise.

In the last few months, investigators across the country have ramped up inspections to try and find as many devices as they can.

"The criminal will unplug this, plug their skimmer into it and then plug the station plug into the skimmer," Ohio auditor Roger Reynolds said.

Skimmers record and store all of a credit card's information from a single swipe. The cyber pickpocket then either later retrieves the device or records remotely via bluetooth.

"Be in their car, close by, pull it in, using their computer," skimming victim Antoine Aaron explained. "It was mostly just the shock of it happening."

Aaron discovered $600 missing from his account after his card was skimmed.

"I just know they got it. It could have been at an ATM or the gas pump. I use my card at gas pumps all the time."

According to FICO, a company that tracks credit card fraud, skimming incidents were up a whopping 546 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The crime continues to grow because it's easy and profitable.

Investigators are now urging gas stations to increase security, use unique keys to open pumps, and install security tape, so employees and consumers can see if a pump's been tampered with.

So how can you protect yourself? Experts offered the following options.

  • Don't use your debit card at the pump--if you use a credit card, your bank will cover the loss.
  • Check your accounts regularly.
  • Choose a pump near the front of the store, it's less likely to have been tampered with.
  • Pay inside. Tug on the card reader, if if pops off, it's probably a skimmer.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.