Protect your financial info from skimmers by using your cell phone

How cell phones could protect you from skimmers

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Skimming, a common way for thieves to steal your credit card information. Detective Chad Edwards with the North Little Rock Police Department said fuel pumps are now the most common place for skimmers to set up shop.

Many of them are using advanced Bluetooth technology into their selected fuel pumps. Detective Edwards said while he hasn’t seen that technology in North Little Rock yet, there are ways to protect yourself from Bluetooth theft technology wherever you are. You just need to grab your cell phone before you pump.

“If you are concerned that there is a Bluetooth enabled skimmer at a fuel pump, you can go into your phone settings and see if there is some strange device recognized when you turn on your Bluetooth,” he said. “It could be a weird string of letters or numbers or just a name the criminals made up.”

Edwards also said that skimmers used to primarily be larger devices installed over card readers. Nowadays, they're very small and hard to detect. One of those reasons is because the fuel pump tampering often happens inside the wiring of the pump.

“In one skimming case we found, you couldn't tell from looking at the front of the machine that there was any kind of device because the tampering was internal,” said Edwards. “When the gas station opened up the fuel pump, a skimming device was found inside computing wires.”

Whether outside or inside the pump, Edwards said there are still some additional ways to protect yourself.

“Avoid fuel pumps furthest away from the main building, avoid gas stations that have easy access on and off the interstate, and if you pay at the pump, run your card as credit so you don’t give away your pin number,” he said.

For more tips on how to avoid falling victim to skimming, click here.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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