Authorities intercept credit card skimmers bound for Texarkana

Updated: Nov. 1, 2017 at 3:22 PM CDT
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A compromised security seal could be an indication that a credit and debit card skimmer or...
A compromised security seal could be an indication that a credit and debit card skimmer or shimmer has been installed. (Source: Texarkana, Texas, Police Department)

TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) - Police in Texarkana, Texas, are cautioning people to be on the lookout for skimmers that could be used to steal their information through credit and debit card readers at gas pumps, Redbox kiosks, ATMs and other locations.

The warning Wednesday comes after another East Texas law enforcement agency arrested some men who had credit card skimmers.

Authorities there found something in the men's vehicle that led investigators to conclude the men were bringing the equipment specifically to Texarkana, police spokesman Shawn Vaughn said.

"While we have not had any recent reports of any being discovered here, it is possible that somebody with whom these guys were working is already in the Texarkana area and possibly has put some other skimmers out," says a post on the Police Department's Facebook page.

Texarkana, Texas, authorities say several people have asked them whether cards with a chip protect you.

"Unfortunately, the short answer is 'not always'," the Police Department's statement says.

Shimmers are relatively new devices that can read card numbers and, under certain circumstances, access the cards's chips.

"These devices may actually be more dangerous because the Shimmers are so thin that they can be fully inserted into a card reader and you never know it is there," police said.

Shimmers might allow someone to create a simple magnetic card with your information because some of the magnetic data might be passed during the read process, authorities said.

"From what I've learned, the only way for the Shimmers to work on a chip-based card is if your bank or vendor hasn't correctly implemented the chip card standard and fails to check the system when they authorize a transaction," police's Facebook post says. "Hopefully, that is not the case with your cards."

  • Authorities also suggest taking these steps:
  • Always carefully check credit and debit card readers before scanning your card.
  • Check whether the credit card reader is loose or appears to have been tampered with in some way.
  • Check whether the security seal has been broken, which may indicate the presences of an internal skimmer that can't be seen.
  • Some skimmers use Bluetooth technology to send your information to someone close by who has a receiver. To check whether this is the case, turn on your smartphone's Bluetooth. If it tries to connect to a device named with random letters and numbers, there might be a skimming device nearby.
  • Err on the side of caution if you find something that seems odd or out of place. Don't put your card in the reader.
  • Immediately notify an employee.

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