Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is warning consumers about using gas pumps and ATMs equipped with electronic devices to steal information from credit or debit cards. Known as "skimming," the small devices record credit or debit card numbers off magnetic strips as the consumer pays for gas or withdraws money.
Earlier this month, WalletPop reported on the sophisticated technology thieves are using to access personal identification information from ATMs. But crooks also are using gas pumps to steal information.
In some cases, miniature remote cameras have been installed on the machines to capture the personal identification number of the card user. Others are using wireless technology to intercept signals from the gas pump to the station's central computer networks, the office said in the consumer alert.
So far, skimming devices have been found on ATMs at two Scottsdale banks. One, however, reported many of its branches statewide have had customers notify them of problems with skimming.
This isn't the only trick in a thief's book these days. Consumer Ally recently reported on a fake ATM installed in Beijing.
The Atty. Gen.'s office offers the following tips for consumers to avoid being a victim of skimming:
Go inside the store to process transactions. Remain inside to sign all credit card receipts. Keep receipts in a secure location or shred them.
Select credit instead of debit at the gas pump. Your liability is limited to $50 when using a credit card.
If you suspect you're a victim of skimming, call police immediately and alert the gas station attendant. But don't rely on the attendant to call police. In some cases, gas station employees have been involved in such scams.