Advances in technology gives the bad guys an edge in the war on credit card fraud. Hillsborough Sheriff's Detective Tim White met us on the scene of two Bluetooth skimmers discovered in the last two weeks.
These days thieves remotely access every credit card used at the pump.
One of the skimmers found contained two ribbons. The first ran to the actual card reader but the second connected to the key pad. Whoever planted it can access not only credit card and debit card numbers but pin codes and zip codes as well.
Increased awareness and security measures are not enough to prevent a spike in skimmers across the state this year. Since 2015, 819 skimmers have turned up at ATMS and gas stations around the state. 451 of them discovered in the last 9 months alone.
Another Bluetooth skimmer turned up two weeks ago at a Citgo in North Tampa. And those targeting ATMS upped their game as well. A newer device called a shimmer is as slim as a credit card and virtually undetectable.
The shimmer goes inside the card reader. Often wherever there’s an ATM skimmer or shimmer a camera may be planted nearby and aimed at the key pad to collect PIN numbers. Sometimes the camera’s are hidden in the ATM mirrors.
So what can you do to protect yourself? When you use an ATM put a hand up over the key pad to shield it from any electronic eyes. Give the ATM mirror a slight tug to make sure it is not glued to any camera.
At the gas station check the security tape for any rips or tears and turn on your Bluetooth when you pull up to a gas pump or ATM or to see if any weird networks pop up. Or you could just go old school and pay inside.