Think Before You Swipe Your Debit, Credit Cards This Holiday Season

Perilous Plastic Credit Cards graphic
Perilous Plastic Credit Cards graphic

Jackson, MS (WJTV) – Since it’s the busiest season for travel and shopping of the year, we want you to be aware of the top crime affecting ATM machines and gas station pumps.

According to the FBI, devices planted on ATMs are almost undetectable and when customers insert their card into the phony reader all their account info is swiped and stored or sent directly to the criminals.

Michael Hampton drove in from Virginia and along the way he says he stopped at several gas stations, but refuses to pay at the pump because he doesn’t want to fall victim to card skimming.

“I go inside the gas stations and use their card reader so I try to stay away from the machines,” says Hampton.

Authorities say skimming can also involve hidden cameras installed on or in a machine or even phony keypads will be placed on top of the real keypad which records the key strokes.

Theodore Wiggins says he usually checks machines before swiping, “You try to shake it with your hand and if you can shake it then it’s no good.”

The FBI says if the credit card reader looks loose and if you notice tape or residue don’t use it and it’s best to use cards embedded with chips.

“Well one of my cards has a chip in it and the other is a debit only and it’s not hooked up to my bank account at all,” says Mildred, a driver.

While there are precautions to take to not fall victim to skimming, Tawanda Jackson says she won’t be using her credit cards that much this holiday season, “I’m keeping more cash on hand right now than I am using my cards.”

According to the FBI you can also avoid being skimmed if you block the keypad with your hand to prevent hidden cameras from recording the numbers and use ATMs on the inside of a building.

Also if you’re going to be in a tourist area for the holidays those are the most popular targets of skimmers.

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