How to stay safe in slew of skimming devices

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If you have a credit or debit card, listen up.

News10NBC already told consumers about the card skimming devices that have popped up at Walmarts across the state.

But now the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is warning shoppers in our area because of a device found in another local store.

It’s scary how quickly someone can steal your credit card information and get into your bank account with a skimming device. But there are ways to protect your information.

“There are some places that are more higher risk for skimmers to attack,” says Founder and Managing Director of Invessent Jarrett Felton. “Yes attack, it is a full blown attack on your financial situation. So sporting complexes, concert venues, gas stations — all of those places.”

This time, it was a retail store in Penfield.

“I call it the face plate, it’s an overlay,” Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brendan Hurley said. “And as you can see in the video that we shared with you, it’s very quick; looks just like a regular grocery store credit card device. And it just takes a couple seconds to overlay it on to that.”

The device has a mechanism that forces shoppers to swipe your card.

When you do this, it reads the magnetic strip on the card and stores it in an SD card on the back of the overlay.

“Inspect it. There’s going to be some wear and tear the older the actual credit card device is. But when it’s a skimmer, if you give just a nice little tug on either of these corners and it pops off, you’re going to know right away that it’s an overlay device,” Hurley said.

But this isn’t the only device that can steal your information.

The two devices work together — usually inside an ATM.

“This little piece of metal sits inside there and when you insert your card, it’ll read the magnetic strips and get all of your information. When you have to enter your pin this sits above the keypad and it’s inserted inside the ATM device, and it monitors when you punch in your code.” Hurley said.

So, what can you do to keep yourself safe?

First, be observant.

“What you’re looking for on here is a lot of times it’ll look like they filed inside where you put in the card. So be cognizant of that. Look for any part of this that could be sticking out or visible inside the machine,” Hurley said.

Always cover your pin number with your other hand, you never know who or what could be watching.

There’s no 100% guaranteed silver-bullet way to protect yourself from credit card fraud. But there are different ways to reduce that risk. Such as checking your bank statements, going online after a long night out, putting a freeze on your credit profile if you don’t need it,” Felton said.

The sheriff’s office told News10NBC that someone would have needed to come back for the device in order to collect the information stored on it.

But luckily, an employee noticed something amiss and called police. So anyone who may have used the machine is safe.

But if you think you’ve found a skimming device, tell someone at the business and call the sheriff’s office 911 to report it.