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Police Warn of Bank Card Skimming Devices

LAS CRUCES, NM - Las Cruces police want residents to be aware of bank card skimming devices that can be attached to ATMs or the card reader at gas pumps.

A card skimming device can be used to capture information from the debit or credit card that is inserted or swiped. Perpetrators use the information illegally collected from the cards to make purchases or withdraw money from the unassuming customer’s account. Victims of such crimes are often unaware of the fraudulent activity until they review their bank or credit card statement.

The Las Cruces Police Department recommends card users follow these tips:

  • Watch for suspicious card readers – the area where a debit or credit card is swiped or inserted – that do not match in color or texture to the rest of the ATM or fuel dispenser.
  • Look for evidence of tampering with the ATM, card reader or on the head of the fuel dispenser. If you notice signs of tampering – loose or damaged card readers – refrain from using the device and inform the store or gas station management of your concerns.
  • Pull or tug on the card reader before using it. If the card reader detaches or feels loose, do not use it.
  • Look for devices near the card reader that can hold a camera – sometimes just a tiny pinhole camera – as those can be used to record images of both sides of the bank card or the user’s secret code when it is entered on the keypad.
  • Watch for suspicious activity at or near where the ATM or card reader is located.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you suspect abnormalities, or evidence of purchases you did not make, report it to your financial institution.
  • Sign up for text-alerts through your financial institution so you are immediately made aware of purchases made on your card.
  • Immediately report to police any suspicious devices or suspicious activity near an ATM or bank card reader.

Some skimming devices can be placed inside an ATM, or inside the head of a fuel dispenser. Those internal skimmers are much harder for consumers to detect. That is another reason why it is important to regularly monitor your bank card statements for any suspicious activity.
Information from the Las Cruces Police Department.