Skimmers get Greencastle police, caution warned

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Greencastle police were victim of a skimming device at a local gas station. Police chief John Phillippy told borough council Monday night that the credit cards used for the four cruisers were compromised. The information from them was used for purchases in Las Vegas and California.

“Places I’m pretty sure our officers have not been,” he said.

Other customers of the business had also reported problems.

The breech was reported to the bank, and all money was refunded to the borough’s account, Phillippy said.

He had also received a phishing email telling him he needed to update data for his bank account. He noted he did not have an account with that particular financial institution.

Phillippy wanted the public to be aware of the risks to their private information, and to be alert to fake emails, as well as the potential for fraudulent devices to be attached to credit card machines and debit card ATMs.

And while senior citizens often fell prey to the scams, he acknowledged, “Everyone is vulnerable.”

Skimming

According to fbi.gov, a skimming scheme involves criminals attaching surreptitious surveillance equipment to credit and debit card machines. The electronic devices capture account information after the person has swiped the card, which has a magnetic strip, and entered a PIN. Hidden cameras are also sometimes used to record customer’s key strokes.

The fake card readers are hard to detect because they match the machine’s facade, either  plastic or plaster. The FBI says the devices are frequently in place for only a few hours. Therefore, they may only be held in place with double-sided tape.

Tips to avoid being scammed by a skim are: look closely at the machine for any irregularities; block the keypad with your other hand when entering the PIN; use an inside ATM if possible; be especially wary in tourist areas; and if the card is not returned immediately after the transaction, contact the financial institution that issued the card.