Debit card skimming at Algoma convenience stores suspected in theft of more than $3,000
ALGOMA – Following eight recent reports of debit card theft totaling more than $3,000, police suspect a card skimming operation is taking place at the gas pumps of local convenience stores.
Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker said card skimmers have not been found yet, but investigators believe they are the cause. He said more information, such as where the skimming is taking place, was not available as of Tuesday morning because the investigation is ongoing.
Card skimming is an operation in which thieves place a small electronic device — the skimmer — on point-of-sale payment machines that read credit and debit cards, such as gas pumps at convenience stores and ATMs. The skimmers can be placed at the slot where the card is inserted (where they're so small that they're often not noticed unless one is looking for them). Skimmers that can be completely hidden inside a payment terminal also have been developed recently.
The skimmers read the magnetic strip on the back of the card to get the account information and can pick up security information that's entered to be able to use the card, such as ZIP codes or PIN codes. The thieves behind the skimmers retrieve the information and can use it themselves or sell it to others to make fraudulent transactions on the card's account.
While skimmers can facilitate both credit and debit card fraud, Remiker said all eight cases so far came from debit cards. He said he recommends people not use a debit card when paying at the pump, and going inside and paying the cashier directly is more safe.
"You put in your PIN number (to use a debit card)," Remiker said, "which is bad."
Remiker asks that anyone with any information call the police department at 920-487-3311.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Debit card skimming at Algoma convenience stores suspected in theft of more than $3,000