According to Clinton Police Det. Danielle Alexander, there has been an increase in skimmers at local gas stations.
Banks have noticed it, too. While there are many more reports of skimmers in Knoxville, they’ve been reported in Clinton lately as well.
Skimmers are malicious card readers attached to ATMs or pay-at-the-pump card readers that steal the info from the magnetic strip on your bank card.
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips to prevent your card info being stolen by skimmers:
• Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void.”
• Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves, report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump.
• If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
• If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.
• Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.
If your card info is stolen, report it to the bank and police as soon as possible. Many banks will refund fraudulent transactions.