(COLUMBUS) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office announced today a new way to combat credit card skimmers.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is using new technology to extract data from card skimmers, which criminals use to steal credit or debit card information from cardholders. The skimmers can be hidden on gas pumps and ATM card readers.
BCI agents can use the technology to pull data from those skimmers in a "forensically sound manner" to help local law enforcement identify the suspects and victims, too.
In a recent case, agents helped law enforcement officers identify more than 700 victims of one skimmer device.
"With just a simple swipe of your credit or debit card, skimmers put your name, card number, and other data into the hands of identity thieves so that they can go on a shopping spree," Attorney General DeWine said. "Investigations to track down the source of a skimmer can be very complex, but by making this new tool available to local law enforcement, we hope to help authorities identify these cyber criminals before they have the chance to use the card information they've stolen."
There are some ways consumers can avoid becoming a victim of credit card skimmers. They are:
- Check for devices, called overlays, that identity thieves put over existing card readers. Most are secured by tape. Try to wiggle or pull on the reader before swiping your card. If it moves or comes off, it's most likely a skimmer overlay.
- Check for damage to or foreign objects inside the reader.
- Check for a security seal on the gas pump. If they're present and have been tampered with, they will turn void.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. If you must use a debit card, run the card as credit.
- If you must use a pin code, cover the pin pad with your other hand while you enter it. Thieves sometimes place cameras inside card readers to obtain your pin information.
- Pay inside instead of at the pump.
- Monitor your credit and bank accounts on a regular basis.