CRIME PREVENTION TIP:
Over the last couple of months, the Roanoke Valley has seen an increase in the number of credit card thefts due to “skimmers” being placed on gas pumps at local businesses throughout the valley. Reports have been made to local law enforcement authorities in Roanoke City, Roanoke County and in Vinton, as well as in several other nearby localities such as Bedford and many other cities and counties across Virginia. Skimmers are electronic devices that are placed on fuel pumps and are used to steal credit card information from the magnetic strip on the card. Experts say that this type of credit card theft, or “skimming” as it is referred to, will continue to rise in the future.
Here are some tips that consumers can take to help prevent becoming a victim of this type of theft:
- Pay inside. Chances are better that the thieves have not put skimming devices on credit card readers inside.
- Pay with cash or credit card, not your debit card. Credit cards are protected by fraud protection in a much greater way that your debit card and do not require a PIN number to be used.
- If you must use your debit card with a PIN number, shield the PIN pad as you enter it. These thieves are also using small camera devices to record what is entered.
- Be suspicious. If it looks like the credit card reader has been tampered with or if the seal is broken or reads “void”, do not use that pump. Report any such findings to the owner/manager of the location immediately.
- Choose to use the gas pumps closest to the building, not the ones out of sight of the attendant. These are less likely to have been tampered with.
- Check your bank account records on a regular basis.
Take action immediately if you see any suspicious activity with your account.
Below you will find example pictures of skimmers. One is external and the other is one that is found inside the gas pump.
Thank you to Master Deputy T. D. Young for the great information!