June 15, 2024

Authors: Michael Bartiromo and Nick DeGray

Posted: 5 months ago

In New England, discoveries of credit card skimmers at retail stores have led local authorities to remind customers to stay vigilant against such scams. On Christmas Eve, a skimming device, which essentially mimics an actual credit-card reader, was detected at a Sudbury Farms supermarket in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Upon further investigation, the parent company of the supermarket also found skimmers at four more locations in Massachusetts.

This discovery is not an isolated incident. In November, police in Concord, New Hampshire also found skimmers at a local Walmart and grocery store in a similar scam.

Understanding Skimming Scams

Skimming scams are designed to trap individuals utilizing ATMs, credit card readers at retail stores, or gas pumps, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The fraudsters concoct devices that resemble legitimate card readers, which are cleverly incorporated into the actual machines. When unsuspecting victims insert their credit cards, these skimming devices either store or transmit the victim’s information, which the criminals later extract.

Recognizing a Skimming Device

The FBI suggests a few effective measures like diligently inspecting a card reader for any loose parts, damage, or tampering signs. Also, covering the keypad while entering your PIN can keep hidden cameras from recording it. The Concord police warn that some scammers even make the chip card slot appear jammed, coercing victims to swipe their cards instead.

The supermarket chain in Massachusetts, where the skimming devices were unveiled, has mentioned that customers who used the self-checkout lanes on or before Christmas Eve might have been affected. However, as of yet, there haven’t been any reports of compromised customer data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a credit card skimming scam?

A credit card skimming scam is a fraud where criminals create a device resembling a legitimate card reader. This tampered card reader either stores or transmits the victim’s credit card information when used.

How can you identify a skimming device?

A skimming device can often be recognized through some clear signs: the card reader may have loose parts, appear damaged, or show signs of tampering. Also, if the card slot seems jammed or coerces the user to swipe instead of using the chip, it may be a skimming device.

What should be done upon discovering a possible skimming scam?

In case of potential skimming scam, it’s advisable to contact both the bank or credit card issuer, and local law enforcement agencies. This step ensures both the financial security of the victim and helps alert others to the potential risk.