Skimmer’s Paradise

Apbweb_4_15_16_creditskimmz
Apbweb_4_15_16_creditskimmz

Photo: Minnesota Dept. of Commerce

From a convenience perspective, credit cards are a dream. From a security perspective, they’re a nightmare.

Not too long ago in Bloomington, Minnesota, a night shift employee at a gas station saw something fishy.

Three guys in a van pulled up to the pumps. One of them used an industry standard key to open up the pump.

He removed the credit card reader and started to install a credit card cloning device known as a “skimmer.”

A security measure scared the crew off, but they were back a couple of nights later.

This time, police were waiting for them.

Bloomington Police caught the three men red-handed, something that almost never happens with this growing crime.

During a search of the suspects’ hotel room, officers found the gear the thieves were using to clone credit cards that were swiped at gas pumps throughout the Twin Cities.

Crimes related to credit card skimming devices are exploding, particularly in Minnesota.

The problem is that it’s almost impossible to tell if a gas pump, ATM, or Red Box has been tampered with. From the outside, skimmers can look totally legit.

Skimmers have been uncovered in Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Bloomington, and Eagan.

Police and the state department of commerce are mounting an “all hands on deck” effort to stem the thefts.

For officers that are in communication with concerned citizens about the issue, there are some ways people can educate themselves to better spot the devices.

Frequently, the skimmer will have gobs of glue around it. It will wiggle and come off in your hand.

But the best way to spot the skimmers is that they’ll be the ones with the extra stuff.
Experts say that if you’re pumping gas or using a credit card to make a purchase, look around at the credit card readers.

Experts say that if you’re pumping gas or using a credit card to make a purchase, look around at the credit card readers.

According to a report from City Pages, thieves usually don’t have too much time to install the skimmers, so if a business has several places to use a credit card—like a gas station, for example—the devices that look bulkier than the others or have some sort of additional appendage could be stealing your identity.

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