Consumer Alert: Credit card skimmers

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

Criminals using credit card skimmers to collect consumer data pose a problem that has vexed law enforcement officials.

“It’s not illegal to own a skimmer,” says LifeLock’s Paige Hanson. “It’s when you start using it for fraudulent purposes, that’s when it’s illegal. So law enforcement does have a tough time.”

Kane In Your Corner found skimmer parts openly for sale online – even some for newer machines that use so-called anti-skim technology.

The problem is people who own or service machines have a need for these parts, so possessing them is only illegal in certain cases. In New York, you have to intend to further the commission of a crime for it to be illegal to own. In New Jersey, you have to have the intent to defraud someone.

Experts say consumers should not be afraid to give credit card slots a gentle tug – especially if they seem a little too big. They also say to protect PIN information from criminals who often use hidden cameras to steal codes. 

Skimmers are getting smaller and more sophisticated each year, but armed with a little caution, experts say that consumers can at least improve their odds.

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