TAKING ACTION: Police warn of ‘skimming’ at some gas stations, ATMs

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- We swipe our cards just about everywhere, but officers in two Marshall County cities are warning  that swiping at the gas pump or other places could compromise credit and debit card numbers.

It's called skimming and officers in Marshall County are seeing it crop up in two cities. "Skimming is when someone puts a device on the actual debit credit card machine of a gas pump," Arab Police Assistant Chief Shane Washburn explains, "When you slide your card in it will skim your magnetic strip off of the card and get the information."

Assistant Chief Washburn says the device will take and store your card information until - "Somebody then later comes back to the pump and retrieves that information."

The thief will put it on a blank card and use it. The Arab Police Department is getting reports of this -- card numbers stolen after they are used to get gas.

"We have seen reports of the skimming going on," Guntersville Police Investigator Mike Turner says.

Turner says the department is getting similar reports, and also at some ATMs. "Anytime there's a machine there where you scan your card, it stands a chance of happening."

Officers in Arab and in Guntersville say there things you can do and watch for to help prevent becoming a victim.

"Once you start looking at it, you can tell that something is attached to it. It looks a little different," Assistant Chief Washburn says.

"If they have your card number, it's very possible that they may contact you as being part of the police department wanting to know your PIN number," Turner says, "Never, never, never, under any circumstance give your PIN number out to anybody."

Also, make sure your PIN number isn't identified with your information and give your bank your current contact information so it can contact you if your card use seems unusual.

Police also recommend that you avoid any machine that looks shabby, in disrepair or has loose components on the outside.

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