Marion County prosecutor provides tips to protect yourself from credit, debit card skimming

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Card skimmer found at Columbus gas station

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry released some tips Tuesday to avoid falling victim to credit and debit card skimming.

Criminals are increasingly installing the skimming devices on card-reading machines. Many associate skimmers with gas pumps and ATMS, but Prosecutor Curry says they can be found anywhere you swipe your card.

The devices record information from a card’s magnetic strip and transmit it to the criminal. In some instances, a small camera is also used to record the consumer’s pin number.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

Avoid using debit cards

Curry says consumers should avoid using debit or other cards which are directly associated with a checking or savings account. Doing so can give a criminal direct access to the funds in that account. More protection is offered by using a major credit card, preferably with a security chip, or just use cash.

Be suspicious

Curry says consumers should check to make sure security labels on gas pumps are intact and use the gas pump with the most visibility to the store’s front door. It is more difficult to covertly install a skimmer on a pump with high traffic.

If you notice that the card reader of an ATM is loose, or if it seems that there is something over the pin pad, do not use that ATM.

Report concerns

Consumers are encouraged to immediately make a report to 911 if a card skimming device is suspected, so that an officer may respond and remove the device. If possible, then notify the business associated with the affected machine.

Monitor bank accounts

Curry says the most important tip he has for consumers is to consistently monitor their banking and credit accounts.